News Item
Chief Justice Lorie Gildea to step down from Supreme Court on October 1

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2023


Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea announced today that she will resign from the Minnesota Supreme Court effective October 1, 2023.
“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.
“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,” Chief Justice Gildea continued. “Our courts have largely recovered from the impacts of the pandemic, we secured important investments for our justice system in the recently completed Legislative Session, our judiciary is on solid fiscal footing, and the Minnesota Judicial Council has adopted an innovative Strategic Plan that will guide the work of our courts in the next biennium. This is a moment of stability and opportunity for our state’s judiciary, and a good time to hand the reins to a new Chief Justice.”
Chief Justice Gildea was originally appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court as an associate justice on January 11, 2006. She was appointed Chief Justice on July 1, 2010, becoming just the second female to hold the position. She is the third longest-serving Chief Justice in Minnesota history, and the longest-serving since 1913.
Chief Justice Gildea has presided over one of the most transformative eras in the history of Minnesota’s judiciary. During her time as Chief Justice, the Minnesota Judicial Branch:
  • Transitioned from paper-based court files to an all-electronic case record through the historic eCourtMN initiative.
  • Preserved access to justice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging remote (online) hearing technology and nation-leading public health protocols.
  • Adopted the oneCourtMN Hearings Initiative Policy, becoming one of the first states to embrace the long-term use of remote court hearings based on feedback from Minnesotans that online hearings reduce barriers to justice, are more convenient, and are less costly to attend.
A vocal advocate for increasing access to justice and enhancing transparency in the judiciary, Chief Justice Gildea has overseen:
  • The launch of Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO), the groundbreaking application that provides online access to public Minnesota state district court records and documents. To date, more than 22 million case documents have been accessed through MCRO.
  • Changes to Court Rules allowing for expanded audio/visual coverage of district court civil proceedings (2013), criminal proceedings that occur after a guilty plea has been accepted or a guilty verdict returned (2018), and, effective Jan. 1, 2024, criminal trial proceedings. 
  • The livestreaming of Minnesota Supreme Court oral arguments and the monthly meetings of the Minnesota Judicial Council.
In addition, under Chief Justice Gildea’s leadership, the Minnesota Judicial Branch:
  “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.”
As a member of the state’s highest court for the past 17 years, Chief Justice Gildea has helped decide some of the most important and pressing legal issues facing Minnesota. The Supreme Court is also responsible for the regulation of the practice of law, judicial and lawyer discipline, and promulgating Rules of practice that govern procedures in the state's courts.
“I am thankful that the Minnesota Supreme Court has remained a collegial and collaborative body,” Chief Justice Gildea said. “Our Court has always strived to reach consensus on the difficult issues that come before us, and the vast majority of our opinions are written without a dissent. It has been a privilege to serve alongside such esteemed jurists, and I am confident my colleagues will carry on this spirit of collegiality into the future.”
Chief Justice Gildea was born and raised in Plummer, Minnesota, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1983. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1986. Before joining the Minnesota Supreme Court, she was a Hennepin County District Court Judge and an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney. Prior to that, Chief Justice Gildea was associate general counsel for the University of Minnesota from 1993 to 2004, and an associate attorney with the law firm of Arent Fox in Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 1993.