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Walz administration names pick for 'most important but least noticed' post

The Walz administration on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, named Lola Velazquez-Aguilu Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — The Walz administration on Wednesday, Jan. 16, named Lola Velazquez-Aguilu Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection. The commission is responsible for recommending to the governor candidates to be appointed as trial court judges and compensation court of appeals judges across the state.

Velazquez-Aguilu has served on the commission since 2016 and has participated in the appointment of 13 new judges. She works at Medtronic as a litigation and investigations counsel. Prior to that, Velazquez-Aguilu served as an assistant U.S. Attorney, an associate attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery and former state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

Velazquez-Aguilu committed to bringing diversity to Minnesota courts and invited legal officials from across the state to apply for open positions.

“We need judges that represent the highest caliber of our profession, judges who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to service, to community, to the rule of law and fundamental fairness,” she said. “To all the lawyers out there, if this is who you are, then you should consider applying.”

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea said the position is "one of the most important but least noticed appointments that the governor makes." Typically, appointments to the post that helps recommend judicial appointments to the governor go without much fanfare. But Walz said it was important to highlight the administration's commitment to setting up a more diverse judicial system.

"I think this is probably if not the most, one of the most important appointments we make," Gov. Tim Walz said. "Ensuring that independent judiciary, ensuring that it truly is representative of our communities."