Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul Anderson is leaving the bench after reaching the state's mandatory retirement age.
He talked with MPR's Morning Edition today about his career; he was a former attorney for Arne Carlson when Carlson appointed him to the bench in 1994. It's a situation that parallels the appointment of Gov. Mark Dayton's former attorney, David Lillehaug, to replace Anderson.
Lillehaug, a Democrat, is a former attorney general and U.S. Senate contender. He also served as Dayton's attorney during the recount of the close 2010 gubernatorial election. Anderson said he thinks Lillehaug can serve on the bench fairly.
"I said yesterday to Mr. Lillehaug, 'Don't let people take shots at you because you've been politically involved,'" Anderson said. "I have been on the court a long time. We deal with people's lives. We deal with the nature of the human condition. We understand -- they have to understand the fallibility of people. Lillehaug has some wins and some losses in his history, both politically and in the legal thing. That is a good experience to have."
Anderson said politics are unavoidable on the court, but only to a point.
"When former Gov. Pawlenty was campaigning for president in Iowa, he put up on his website, and was bragging, that he changed a moderate Minnesota Supreme Court to a conservative Supreme Court. I was offended by that, because it's a politicization of the court," he said.
Dayton announced Lillehaug's appointment at the Capitol on Tuesday. He is expected to succeed Anderson in May.