Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page in his own words
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Page will hit the mandatory retirement age of 70 in August. The former Minnesota Viking sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his plans for an active retirement and to look back at his career. Here are some of his thoughts.
"August 31st is going to come, and that's going to be the end of it. I'm not focused on that. I'm still focused on trying to get the job done. It's kind of an odd place to be, in that the work is still there, the cases haven't changed, and yet out there on the horizon there is this end date. And so I find it a little odd."
ON WHO THE GOVERNOR SHOULD NAME AS HIS SUCCESSOR
"Far be it from me to try to put my hand or keep my hand in the mix once I'm gone. I think it's important that the people who serve here reflect the people they serve. And so to that end I suppose, having people of color serve in this court is important. But diversity manifests itself in many, many ways. You wouldn't want seven Alan Pages here. You wouldn't want seven of anybody with sort of the same background, same experiences. That's not what makes what we do better. It's that diversity of experience, understanding of background, that adds to the richness of our decisions."
ON EDUCATING CHILDREN
"I'm more and more convinced that critical to the educational success of young children is learning how to read and learning how to write, because doing those two things, at least it's been my experience, that they force you to think critically. And if you can learn to think critically, you can figure out the rest of it. You can figure out how to get information and use information. But if you never learn how to think critically, you're at a deficit your entire life."
ON WHAT HE LEARNED FROM FOOTBALL
"The skills, if you will, that allowed me to be successful on the football field also are skills that would allow anyone to be successful in any endeavor. It's being able to focus on the task at hand, being able to analyze a problem, working hard, thinking critically, the ability to keep going in the face of adversity, time management, those are the things that allow you to be successful in almost any endeavor you're engaged in."
ON WHY HE WON'T SAY WHICH OF HIS CASES HE CONSIDERS MOST SIGNIFICANT
"The cases we see involve real people with real problems, and for them, for the parties in any given case, it's the most important thing a lot of times in their lives. ... They're all important. Some are more interesting than others, and some are less interesting than others. But they're all important. And getting it right, whether it's a big case or a little case, is really what it's all about. In the end somebody else can judge what was important and what wasn't. Ultimately this job isn't about us, it's about the law and trying to figure it out, and trying to articulate it in a way that is helpful. And so in that respect it doesn't matter what I think about what's important and what isn't important. "
ON WHY HE LEAVES IT TO OTHERS TO DESCRIBE HIS JUDICIAL PHILOSOPHY
"If it's in one of my opinions, it's there because my understanding of the law and the facts warrants it. And that I try to be clear in articulating what I think in the opinion. And, you know, once I've done that, there's really not a whole lot else to say."