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State Judiciary


Minnesota Constitution provides: The judicial power of the state is vested in a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, if established by the Legislature, a District Court and such other courts, judicial officers, and commissioners with jurisdiction inferior to the District Court as the Legislature may establish (Article VI, Section 1).

The Minnesota Supreme Court

Jurisdiction: The Minnesota Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in such remedial cases as are prescribed by law, and appellate jurisdiction in all cases, but there shall be no trial by jury in the Supreme Court.

Justices: Minnesota Statutes provide for one chief justice and six associate justices (Minnesota Statutes, 480.01). Justices are elected by the people of the state to six-year terms; vacancies are filled by governor’s appointment. Justices are elected without party designation. Candidates file for a specific judicial office, which is designated on the ballot by seat number. Mandatory retirement age for justices is 70 years old (Minnesota Statutes 490.121, Subd. 21d).

Functions: The chief justice of the Supreme Court is the administrative head of the judicial branch, supervises the work of all courts, and chairs the Minnesota Judicial Council, which is the single administrative policy-making body for the judicial branch. A state court administrator is appointed by the chief justice and the Judicial Council. The Supreme Court commissioner, Supreme Court administrator, clerk of the appellate courts and state law librarian are appointed by the court. The
court is responsible for the regulation of the practice of law, including the promulgation of rules of procedure and practice before all courts within the state.

Salary: $160,579 chief justice; $145,981 associate justices