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Half of state’s chief judges are female

Sally L. Tarnowski

For the first time in state history, five of the state’s 10 judicial districts are overseen by female chief judges.

On July 1, new and re-elected chief judges assumed their positions in the state’s five odd-numbered judicial districts, making half of all of the chief judges female. Kathryn Davis Messerich oversees the 1st Judicial District, which includes Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott and Sibley counties; Jodi L. Williamson oversees the 3rd Judicial District, which covers courts in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona counties; Michelle A. Dietrich oversees the 5th Judicial District, which includes courts in Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock and Watonwan counties; Ivy S. Bernhardson oversees the 4th Judicial District, which serves Hennepin County; and Sally L. Tarnowski oversees the 6th Judicial District, which includes courts in Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties.

Today, 43 percent of the state’s district court judges are female, as are 53 percent of the judges on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and 57 percent of the justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court.