News Item
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich announces retirement

Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2024

After 12 years on the bench, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich announced today that she will step down at the end of the Court’s 2023-24 term.

Chutich was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2012 and to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016, then elected in 2018. She submitted her retirement letter to Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Her last day on the Supreme Court will be July 31.

“I have loved serving the people of Minnesota on their appellate courts, first on the Minnesota Court of Appeals for four years and now as a member of this Court for almost eight years,” she wrote in her letter. “I am also grateful to my colleagues on the Court, who strive every day in a collegial and collaborative fashion to apply the law in a principled and even-handed way.  They are hard-working, intelligent, and kind human beings.”

Chutich is the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve on the high court, but she didn’t realize the impact of her appointment until she met with members of the public. She was touched that so many mothers thanked her for the positive effect her appointment had on their LGBTQ+ children.

“Representation is important so that when students see someone like them having success, they will have confidence they can set high goals as well,” she says. “Having someone like me on the bench also tells LGBTQ+ lawyers they belong in the courtroom and helps those in the community know that someone on the bench has life experiences that may enrich the understanding of the court, especially about the facts involved in a particular case. All manner of diversity in decision makers is key to creating a fair system of justice.”

Of all her experiences on the court, Chutich’s favorite was traveling to high schools throughout Minnesota to hear oral arguments in real cases. At each event, justices answer student questions and have lunch with a group of kids. The impact of the visits can be profound—both for the students and the justices.

“Many students told us that they had never thought about being a lawyer before but were now intrigued,” she says. “I was also impressed to see the top-notch facilities that Minnesota communities have created to educate our children and reassured about our future when meeting the energetic and talented students in those schools.”

Chutich is the second Supreme Court justice to announce a retirement in the past week. Justice Barry Anderson, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2004, announced last week that he will retire on May 10.

As for what Chutich plans to do in retirement, she says other retirees have advised her to take six months to figure it out. She intends to heed that advice.

“I’m looking forward to having more time to be a better family member and friend,” she says. “I love to write and I love interacting with young lawyers, so we’ll just see what comes down the pike in the future.”