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.