News Item
Justice Chutich, Chief Judge Cleary named “outstanding alumni” by University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2017

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Margaret H. Chutich and Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward J. Cleary have been named “outstanding alumni” by the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Justice Chutich and Chief Judge Cleary were among 26 honorees to receive the CLA Alumni of Notable Achievement Award at an evening event at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on June 29.
The CLA Alumni of Notable Achievement Award honors CLA Alumni who demonstrate leadership, creative excellence, and community-mindedness, and who mirror the community at large. According to the CLA, fewer than 1% of graduates receive this distinction.
Justice Chutich received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the CLA, studied Croatian at the University of Zagreb, and received her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan. She began her distinguished career clerking for then United States District Court Judge, and fellow CLA alumna, Diana E. Murphy. She later practiced law privately for five years and then entered public service with the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General, where her service included prosecution and leading the law enforcement section. Justice Chutich also served as a federal prosecutor. After lending her expertise as assistant dean at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, she was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and later as an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“I was honored and humbled to be included with this impressive group of College of Liberal Arts graduates,” said Justice Chutich. “It was gratifying to learn about the many ways that the alumni’s efforts have made a positive difference in their communities. I’ll always be grateful to the University for the excellent education that I received in my home state.”
The CLA described Chief Judge Cleary as a “venerated Bill of Rights advocate and jurist.” He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in political science from the CLA and his juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School.  Early in his career as a public defender, Chief Judge Cleary successfully argued a precedent-setting case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, RAV v. City of Saint Paul, which he later chronicled in the award-winning book, “Beyond the Burning Cross: A Landmark Case of Race, Censorship, and the First Amendment” (1994). He was appointed as a judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District in 2002, and then to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2011. He was named Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals by Governor Dayton in 2013, and was reappointed to that role in 2016. Beginning in 2000, Chief Judge Cleary also spent 12 years teaching emerging lawyers at the University of Minnesota Law School.
“It is very gratifying and a great honor to have my alma mater recognize me in this way among so many accomplished alumni,” said Chief Judge Cleary.
Read the complete bios of Justice Chutich and Chief Judge Cleary.