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Rosalie Wahl, the first woman on Minnesota Supreme Court, has died at 88

Rosalie Wahl made Minnesota history in 1977, when she was the first woman appointed to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Rudy Perpich.

Wahl spent 17 years on the court. She died Monday at age 88. Her family said she had been in poor health.

She was know as a champion for women lawyers and gender fairness.

She was in her 40s when she put herself through law school, said an American Bar Association biography. Her fifth child was born while she was studying law at William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul.

After getting her degree, she served as a state public defender, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and a clinical professor of law at Mitchell.

Wahl also co-founded the Minnesota Women Lawyers group. She chaired the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts and also chaired the Gender Fairness Implementation Committee.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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a great woman

As a friend and colleague, though not a lawyer, I mourn the passing of a great woman who helped not only open doors to successful practice of law for women lawyers but educated judges and other court officials about treating women fairly in court. What many men and women, including our grandchildren, don't know is that the world was very different for women before Rosalie and many others in the 20th century women's movement educated--and lobbied!!--the world about the differential treatment of women in the courts, in law firms and in daily life.