The Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court leads and advocates for the third branch of government: the Courts.


Minnesota Courts

There are three levels of court in Minnesota: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the District Courts.  District Courts are located in 106 locations across Minnesota’s 87 counties.  The Judicial Branch has 319 judges and approximately 2500 employees.


The Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court is the administrative head of the Judicial Branch and responsible for its overall management. The Chief guided the courts through the unprecedented Minnesota government shutdown in 2011, and her leadership through four budget-setting cycles has reversed years of budget cuts to our court system.  The Chief is also leading the Judicial Branch through an ambitious innovation agenda, including the move to electronic case management, called eCourtMN.

The Chief also leads the seven-member Supreme Court, which, in addition to resolving the cases that come before the Court, has the responsibility to regulate lawyers and to make statewide rules that govern Minnesota’s courts.  During more than 11 years on the Supreme Court, the Chief has heard thousands of cases and authored over 200 legal opinions for the court.

Swearing In 7/1/2010 - 100
Chief Justice Lori Gildea of the Minnesota Supreme Court  on Thursday, April 20, 2017, makes what is thought to be the first chief justice apperance in front of a state House-Senate conference committee. Don Davis / Forum News Service


The Chief advocates to the Minnesota legislature on behalf of the Courts.  She builds coalitions of lawyers, journalists, civic groups, labor leaders, business executives, non-profit organizations, and others to secure sustainable funding for an effective justice system.  The Chief has testified at the Legislature, held regular meetings with the Governor and legislative leaders, and made hundreds of public appearances explaining to the people of Minnesota why funding for the justice system is important to all Minnesotans.  As a result of the Chief’s leadership, funding for the Judicial Branch has stabilized, allowing the Branch to continue to implement needed innovations to better serve the needs of all Minnesotans.