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Judicial Appointments News

Walz, Flanagan Announce Chair of Commission on Judicial Selection

1/16/2019 1:08:27 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced that Lola Velazquez-Aguilu will serve as the Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection. With an extensive and proven legal record in both the private and public sectors, Velazquez-Aguilu will Chair the Commission she has served on since 2016.

“We are excited to announce Lola Velazquez-Aguilu as the Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection,” said Governor Walz. “She is a self-driven and dedicated public servant and an accomplished attorney whose leadership will set the tone of the Commission. We are committed to working together with Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu and members of the Commission to ensure that those who uphold the rule of law are qualified and representative of our communities.”

“Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu’s record speaks for itself. We are confident that, as Chair of the Commission, she will continue her commitment to supporting a diverse and independent judiciary,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said. “Our courts are the conduits of equal and fair justice and should reflect the diversity of Minnesota. We look forward to continue creating an equal and fair judiciary system by identifying excellent judges in partnership with the Commission under Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu’s leadership.”

“It is truly an honor to be asked to serve as Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection,” Lola Velazquez-Aguilu said. “The merit selection process is critical to ensuring the advancement of a strong, independent, and diverse judiciary.  Thankfully, Minnesota is blessed to have a deep pool of qualified lawyers from all backgrounds and all sectors of the profession who represent the best of our State.  I look forward to working with the commissioners, the bench, and the Governor and Lt. Governor, to recruit and select the future members of our judiciary.” 

“Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu is a terrific attorney with broad experience in the community.  I am confident she will do a great job assisting Governor Walz in the appointment of outstanding judges for Minnesota,” said Chief United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim.

“Governor Walz has made an inspired choice in selecting Lola Velazquez-Aguilu to be Chair of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection. Throughout her career she has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to a diverse and independent judiciary,” said Senior United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery. “The wide range of her legal experience in civil and criminal law, public, private and corporate practice, coupled with her extensive involvement and contacts with all segments of the Minnesota legal community, will ensure that well-qualified judicial candidates from all backgrounds are identified and evaluated. The door of opportunity to becoming a judge in Minnesota will be wide open to all under her leadership.”

“Chair Velazquez-Aguilu is a proven leader in recruiting and evaluating highly qualified candidates for Minnesota’s Judiciary. Before joining the Commission as a district member, she provided insight and leadership to ensure greater access and opportunity for individuals and affinity groups, which have historically been underrepresented,” said Lee Sheehy, outgoing Chair of the Commission. “I am grateful for Governor Walz’s continued commitment to Minnesota's long legacy of merit selection for the Judiciary.”

“All of Minnesota is lucky to have Lola Velazquez-Aguilu chosen to serve as the Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection,” said Tom Nelson, President-elect of the Minnesota State Bar Association and partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. “Her legal experience and expertise are deep and broad, and her commitment to the rule of law and the independence of our already-outstanding judiciary is genuine and long-standing. She will continue our state's renowned tradition of searching for and selecting truly excellent and fair-minded judges.”

“Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu is an extraordinary lawyer, with a demonstrated and deep commitment to creating a fair justice system that reflects the community,” said Lariss Maldonado, Immediate Past President of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association and an attorney at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. “She is authentic, thoughtful, and exceptionally intelligent. Governor Walz’s appointment of Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu is historic and empowering for the Latino community, for people of color, and for Minnesota as a whole. The Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association looks forward to seeing strides for equality and excellence on the bench.”

About Lola Velazquez-Aguilu

In her time on the Commission on Judicial Selection, Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu participated in the selection and appointment of 13 new judges. She currently serves as Litigation and Investigations Counsel at Medtronic. Previously, she has served as an Assistant United States Attorney, an Associate at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, and as a law clerk for the Honorable Ann Montgomery and the Honorable Alan Page. Velazquez-Aguilu has also served as the Co-Chair of the United States District Court Magistrate Merit Selection Panel, on the Transition Committee for Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison, and as President of the Infinity Project. She has shown dedication to improving the judiciary by serving on the Minnesota Federal Bar Association’s Diversity Strategic Planning Committee and as Chair of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association’s Judicial Endorsements Committee. Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she received her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees.

The Commission on Judicial Selection solicits, considers, and recommends candidates to the Governor for vacancies in the District Trial Courts and the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. It is a joint Commission, appointed by the Governor and the Supreme Court, made up of nine at-large members, including the Chair, and four district members from each of Minnesota’s ten Judicial Districts.

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