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First Black Woman promoted to Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

(Courtesy of the Minnesota Judicial Branch)

Natalie Hudson was promoted to chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday morning, marking the first time the state has seen a Black person at the helm of its highest court.

Hudson served on the State Court of Appeals from 2002 and worked in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for eight years in criminal appellate law. She was appointed as an associate justice in 2015 by then-Governor Mark Dayton. She begins her tenure as chief justice in October.

“Justice Hudson is one of our state’s most experienced jurists,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “I am confident that she will advance a vision that promotes fairness and upholds the dignity of all Minnesotans.”

Hudson started her legal career in 1982, where she worked at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services as an attorney for low-income clients dealing with housing issues. She also worked as the assistant dean of student affairs at Mitchell-Hamline School of Law from 1982 to 1992.

“This is a tremendous responsibility that I approach with humility and resolve, seeking to continue the work of my predecessors in administering one of the best state court systems in the nation, and always seeking to deliver the most accessible, highest-quality court services for the citizens of Minnesota,” Hudson said.

Gov. Walz appointed Karl Procaccini to fill Hudson’s spot. Procaccini was formerly Walz’s chief of staff and legal counsel, and is a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas.

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