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Governor Dayton appoints David Lillehaug to the Minnesota Supreme Court

March 26, 2013

Saint Paul – Today, in a press conference at the State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of David Lillehaug to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mr. Lillehaug will replace Justice Paul Anderson, who will be retiring from the Bench at the end of May.

Governor Dayton thanked Justice Anderson for his dedicated service to the State of Minnesota, especially for his service on the Supreme Court, where he has served as Associate Justice since 1994.

About the appointment, Governor Dayton said:

“Mr. Lillehaug served our state admirably as the United States Attorney, after being confirmed unanimously by the US Senate.  In the following years, he has served as lead counsel for cases involving some of the most complex legal and constitutional questions of our time.  They include: establishing the rights of Minnesota’s religious institutions under the “conceal-carry” firearms law; challenging Governor Pawlenty’s unallotment of appropriated funds in 2009-2010; and representing my office on constitutional issues regarding the 2011 state government shutdown.

“In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Lillehaug served as Senator Al Franken’s chief Minnesota counsel in the recount following his US Senate contest with Senator Norm Coleman.  When faced with my own recount after the 2010 gubernatorial election, I also turned to Mr. Lillehaug for his expertise.  In both the 2010 recount and 2011 shutdown cases, Mr. Lillehaug’s representation was superb.  He has one of the most brilliant minds I have ever encountered; yet he can also put very complex legal issues into very understandable writings.  His diligence, preparation, and professionalism were always impeccable.

“Mr. Lillehuag will bring a perspective to the court, which I believe will carry forward the high standards established by Justice Paul Anderson, who has served our state with the greatest distinction.   I have the utmost confidence that Mr. Lillehaug will also be an outstanding Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

“I am deeply honored by the Governor’s announcement,” said Mr. Lillehaug. “Upon taking the bench, like other lawyers who have joined this marvelous Court, I will leave behind the world of advocacy and swear an oath to be fair and impartial.  And I will abide by that solemn oath.”

Mr. Lillehaug has extensive legal experience in both the public and private sectors.  He was appointed by President Clinton, and confirmed unanimously by the United State Senate, to be the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota.  In this position, Mr. Lillehaug served as the federal government’s chief prosecutor and civil litigator in Minnesota from 1994-1998, during which time he developed a reputation as the “Neighborhood U.S. Attorney,” creating new relationships among law enforcement, corporations and communities across the state.

Early in his career, Mr. Lillehaug clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Harry MacLaughlin, a former member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Following his clerkship, he worked at a Washington, D.C. law firm, while working evenings and weekends on Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign.  Eventually he worked full time on the campaign, traveling with Vice President Mondale, writing speeches and briefing the candidate on the issues.

Mr. Lillehaug returned to Minnesota in 1985 to practice law.  Since 2002, Mr. Lillehaug has been at Fredrikson & Byron, where he has developed a practice focused on public law and complex litigation, including civil, criminal and regulatory proceedings.  He has gained broad experience in the courtroom, in administrative hearings, in arbitrations and as an investigator, mediator and counselor.  He serves on three non-profit boards and is active in Minnesota’s nationally-renowned high school mock trial program.

Mr. Lillehaug earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from Augustana College in 1976 and he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1979.  He has a daughter in college and lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Winifred Smith.

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Governor Dayton announces appointment of David Lillehaug to the Minnesota Supreme Court

Headshot of David Lillehaug