Senators tap bipartisan group of distinguished Minnesota leaders to lead search 

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken announced the formation of a judicial selection committee to assist them in making a recommendation to the President to fill a vacancy on Minnesota’s federal district court that was created by Chief Judge Michael J. Davis’s decision to assume senior status. Today Judge Davis sent a letter to President Obama announcing he would retire from regular active service as a United States District Court Judge in August of 2015 and continue to serve as a senior judge.

The Committee is co-chaired by Thomas Heffelfinger, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and current partner at Best & Flanagan, and R. Ann Huntrods, a partner at Briggs and Morgan and former head of that firm’s employment law practice group. Committee members include Edward Toussaint, former Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs at William Mitchell College of Law; Lolita Ulloa, Managing Attorney, Victims Services Division in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office; Lisa Swenson, Managing Attorney, Third Judicial District Public Defender's Office; Mark Rubin, St. Louis County Attorney; and Yvonne Cheung Ho, former President and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA).

In announcing the judicial selection committee, Senator Klobuchar said: 

“This distinguished group of Minnesota leaders will help identify a person who will continue Minnesota’s long tradition of quality federal judges.

“Federal judges are appointed for life, which makes it all the more critical that they are fair-minded, conscientious and even-handed.  The Committee will be looking for a person of integrity with a first-rate legal mind, a wide breath of professional experience, and a fair judicial temperament. 

“Chief Judge Davis made history as the first African-American to serve as a federal judge in Minnesota and he has served our state well for over 20 years as a federal judge and 10 years before that as a state court judge. We are lucky that we will still have the benefit of his service when he takes senior status. I’m confident that with this committee’s counsel we will find an outstanding Minnesotan who will carry on the fine work that Judge Davis has done for many years.”

Senator Franken said:

"I’m so pleased that such a credentialed and impressive group of Minnesotans has agreed to help select a candidate for this position. The job of federal judge is an exceptionally important position that requires someone with a diverse record of experience and an unwavering commitment to fair and just application of the law. I have no doubt that this committee will help us choose a well-qualified Minnesotan for the post, and I look forward to seeing their recommendations."

"I also need to recognize Judge Michael Davis, whose decision to take senior status after some 30 years on the bench is creating this vacancy. Judge Davis deserves an enormous amount of gratitude for his decades of service to Minnesota and to the court. He will no doubt be hard to replace."

Those wishing to be considered for the position of Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota should submit a letter of interest and resume by Friday, January 9, 2015 to: Co-Chairs Thomas Heffelfinger and R. Ann Huntrods, Judicial Selection Committee, Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar, 1200 Washington Avenue South, Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55415. Materials may also be e-mailed to the Committee at References will be requested at a later date during the interview process.