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Pawlenty says no cronyism was involved when he bypassed process to appoint aide’s wife a judge

News stories yesterday about Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s appointment of three new Hennepin County judges noted that he bypassed the normal selection process in picking one the new jurists, Jamie Anderson, who is married to Paul Anderson, a long-time Pawlenty aide and now his deputy chief of staff.

It was a legal, although unusual, way for a governor to choose a new judge. And the governor told MPR that it was not cronyism:

“I think she has obvious strengths and I don’t think this is somebody that you look at and say she is unworthy of this position,” Pawlenty said. “Plus, I know a lot more about her than I would after interviewing somebody else for fifteen or twenty minutes.

“So I have a higher degree of confidence of who she is, what she believes, [and] her integrity than somebody I more typically meet in a fifteen or twenty-minute interview.”

The other two appointments went through the normal Commission on Judicial Selection review process. One of the other new judges, Patrick Robben, is Pawlenty’s chief counsel in the governor’s office. The other is Mary Vasaly.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by antony cliffton on 12/23/2010 - 02:57 pm.

    Wow, Tim P still putting the “Lame” into Lame Duck, just like his hero George W. Bush. Reminds me of the bad ol’ days when he wanted his DWI laywer, Gonzales, and his dental assistant Harriet Miers appointed…. Wait one of them was.

  2. Submitted by William Pappas on 12/25/2010 - 08:24 am.

    So 15 or 20 minute interviews are the litmus test for his judicial nominees? Why doesn’t Minnpost run a check on Jamie Anderson’s resume from the last ten years? What clients did she serve and in what capacity? Has she done any lobbying? I am suspiscious Pawlenty’s methods may indicate an effort to implant a young ideological zealot into the HC court system for years to come. Her age unfortunately rules out a wealth of experience, something the public should expect from any judicial nominee.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/26/2010 - 01:42 pm.

    William your so cynical.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/26/2010 - 01:46 pm.

    Well I’m glad Pawlenty see no cronyism, but is that really the point? Isn’t the issue whether or not the public see cronyism? Shouldn’t the headline read: “Pawlenty Denies Cronyism”.

  5. Submitted by Karen Cole on 12/27/2010 - 10:11 am.

    The point is not just whether Pawlenty has spent his 15 minutes with a candidate.

    He bypassed an important step: the Merit Selection Commission looks at all the applications and interviews the strongest candidates. They look for a record of quality relevant experience. They then give the governor a short list of the most worthy candidates who hav passed muster. Being on the list is a stamp of approval by the commission that this candidate meets the criteria to be a judge.

    When the governor goes outside the commission recommendations, we don’t know whether the commmission would have given its stamp of approval. Public confidence is undermined.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/27/2010 - 03:16 pm.

    //When the governor goes outside the commission recommendations, we don’t know whether the commmission would have given its stamp of approval. Public confidence is undermined.

    In a lot of ways undermining public confidence in government is an explicit Republican agenda. Two or three birds with one stone here.

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