Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea retiring in October

Pictured Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. (Credit Minnesota Judicial Branch) (Minnesota Judicial Branch)

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea announced Thursday she is stepping down this fall.

Gildea, who has served as Chief Justice for 13 years, said she will resign on Oct. 1, citing it's time for transition in leadership in the court. 

"Serving as Minnesota’s Chief Justice has been the honor of a lifetime, and I am deeply grateful to the people of Minnesota for giving me this opportunity," Chief Justice Gildea said in a statement. "Although my decision to step down has not been an easy one, I believe this is the right moment for a transition in leadership of the Minnesota Judicial Branch." 

Gildea was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2006 before being appointed Chief Justice in 2010, becoming the second female to hold the position. She is the third longest-serving chief justice in Minnesota history. 

The Minnesota Judicial Branch said Gildea "presided over one of the most transformative eras in the history of Minnesota’s judiciary" and cited that during her time as Chief Justice, she oversaw: 

  • The launch of online access to court records
  • Changes to court rules allowing for audio and visual coverage in civil proceedings, criminal proceedings after a guilty plea or verdict, and beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, criminal trial proceedings
  • The livestreaming of Minnesota Judicial Council monthly meetings and Minnesota Supreme Court oral arguments

The Judicial Branch said also under Gildea, Minnesota accomplished: 

  • Becoming one of the highest-scoring states in the National Justice Index, which measures how states ensure access to justice in four key areas: attorney access, self-help access, language access, and disability access
  • Earning national accolades for its work to protect vulnerable adults through the Conservator Account Auditing Program(CAAP) and the Conservator Account Review Program (CARP)
  • Launching the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative, which, for the first time, provided state funding to improve the safety and security of county court facilities
  • More than doubling the number of operational treatment courts in Minnesota

"I am extremely proud of what Minnesota’s judiciary has accomplished over the past 13 years," Chief Justice Gildea said. "We have made tremendous strides to increase access to justice, modernize the work of our courts, and navigate the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota is viewed as among the most innovative and well-managed court systems in the entire country, and the credit for that success goes to our dedicated judicial branch employees and judges."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Governor Tim Walz issued statements about Chief Justice Gildea’s retirement. 

"Chief Justice Gildea served our state nobly and honorably for many years. Under her leadership, Minnesotans knew that the process of justice was in steady and reliable hands. Personally, I enjoyed working with her on the Pardon Board, and I always benefited from her insights. I am sure that she will be successful in whatever her next chosen path is, and I am grateful for her service to our state," said Ellison. 

"I want to thank Chief Justice Gildea for her dedicated service to Minnesota. She has been a strong defender of the judicial branch. I have seen firsthand the balance and thoughtfulness she brings to her work each and every day – whether it’s improving and modernizing the judicial branch or serving on the Board of Pardons," said Walz. 

Gov. Walz will announce the application process for the vacancy in the coming weeks.