Congratulations Judge Anne McKeig
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From the article:
Gov. Mark Dayton has selected Fourth Judicial District Judge Anne McKeig as the next Supreme Court justice, giving the state’s highest court its first American Indian jurist, as well as the first female majority since 1991.
McKeig, 49, a descendant of White Earth Nation, has specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues. She was first appointed to the bench in 2008 by GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. She will replace retiring Justice Christopher Dietzen, also a Pawlenty appointee.
The selection means that Dayton has made a majority of appointments on the 7-member court, likely ensuring his legacy on the bench long after he leaves office. He has now appointed five justices, though former Justice Wilhelmina Wright joined the federal bench earlier this year.
In his two terms, Dayton has made diversifying the state’s courts a priority. He praised McKeig’s legal experience, and he also emphasized her biography, reading a passage from her application as he announced his pick.
“I grew up in rural Minnesota in challenging circumstances surrounded by poverty,” McKeig wrote. “The lessons I learned as a young woman from Federal Dam, Minn. planted in me a strong desire to make a difference for my community. My passion for public service comes from seeing the enormous need matched against the limited resources on the reservation.”
McKeig delivered an emotional speech Tuesday to reporters, members of her family and other Minnesota dignitaries, including the state Supreme Court. She called her appointment a “historic day” for American Indians. She thanked trailblazing Judge Robert A. Blaeser for paving the way for other American Indians pursuing legal careers.
“I didn’t know him, but he was a White Earth member,” McKeig said, recalling the impression his 1995 swearing-in ceremony left on her. “And, I, a proud descendant of the White Earth nation, knew that if he could do it, than maybe I could.”
She added: “It is people like him and his wife who have led the way that have allowed for others like me to dare to dream. So today is a historic day, not only for myself and for my family, but for all native people.”