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Pawlenty names former law partner as chief justice

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Pawlenty is turning to his former law partner to lead the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Pawlenty named Eric Magnuson to replace Russell Anderson, who announced last week he would retire in June. Magnuson has been in charge of screening judicial candidates for the governor.

He will become the first chief justice without previous experience on the Supreme Court since 1944.

In Minnesota, judges don’t require legislative confirmation. But they periodically stand for election while seldom facing stiff challenges.

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Justices serve six-year terms, but they are also subject to a retirement age of 70. Associate justices are paid almost $142,000 annually; the chief justice makes nearly $156,000.

Recent governors have preferred experienced justices for the top job. The last nine chief justices have served on the court before heading it, although one had a gap between his service as associate justice and chief.

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