Minnesota has its first American Indian Supreme Court justice


Anne K. McKeig is the first American Indian to be sworn in as a state Supreme Court justice in the United States.

The 49-year-old was appointed to Minnesota's highest court by Gov. Mark Dayton back in June. When McKeig, a descendant of White Earth Nation, was appointed, she called it a "historic day ... for all Native people."

She's replacing Associate Justice Christopher J. Dietzen, who retired this summer.

And at Thursday's public investiture ceremony, held at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, she thanked Dayton for "having faith" in a woman from Federal Dam, saying his appointment shows "great vision and wisdom" because he appreciates the role Native Americans have in the history of Minnesota, according to a news release.


During her career – which includes stops in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, teaching at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and work as a District Court judge – she’s specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues, the governor’s office said.

And she was praised for that work Thursday. The Star Tribune says people spoke of her wit, generosity and commitment to the welfare of children.


A female majority

The Minnesota Supreme Court officially has its first female majority since 1991.

McKeig joins three other women who are currently serving on the seven-member Supreme Court. This is only the second time in state history that there's been a female majority on the court.

Minnesota is joining 10 other states that have female majorities in their top courts.

They are: Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington (which happens to have the most female judges, with six out of nine), and our close neighbor Wisconsin.

(Note: New York and Maryland are weird in that the highest courts are appeals courts. We counted those among the other supreme courts here.)

She’s Dayton’s fourth pick

McKeig is Dayton's fourth pick for the Supreme Court – the other three were appointed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

With Dietzen's exit, coupled with McKeig's entrance, there will be an ideological shift on the bench, Mitchell Hamline Law School professor Ted Sampsell-Jones previously told the Star Tribune McKeig is more liberal-leaning, while Dietzen was more conservative.

Here’s a look at the other current Supreme Court justices.


Next Up

Zach Parise

Ghosts of Wild's past force split with Sharks

Brent Burns and Ryan Donato thwarted a comeback attempt by the Wild.

Avante Dickerson

Top-ranked recruit Avante Dickerson decommits from Gopher football

The four-star cornerback was the highest-rated recruit in Minnesota's 2021 class.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Limits on in-person court activity extended for 45 days

The statewide order extends current limitations through March 15.

D'Angelo Russell / Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves need more from D'Angelo Russell

The Wolves haven't gotten what they expected since making a blockbuster trade.

oct. 20 snow crash

Spinouts, crashes still happening after snow leaves MN roads a mess

The snow storm caused at least 208 crashes this weekend.


For The Week: Food tips and tricks to get you through the next 7 days

BMTN's food writer Lindsay Guentzel makes life easier for Minnesotans.

snow, plow

Here's how much snow fell in Saturday's storm in Minnesota

MSP Airport had the highest total as of 7 a.m. Sunday with 5.3 inches.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 7.53.44 PM

Spinouts, crashes across Twin Cities as snow gets heavier

There have been multiple incidents across the metro area.

Mason Branstrator

Family, friends raising funds for teen soccer standout with spinal injury

Mason Branstrator of Duluth was injured in a skiing accident.


Associate Justice Helen Meyer leaving Minnesota Supreme Court

Meyer will step down in August after "10 years as a member of the Supreme Court and 20 years as a trial lawyer." Her vacancy will be Gov. Mark Dayton's first chance to appoint someone to the Supreme Court.