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Rachel Hughey and Colette Routel
Rachel Hughey and Colette Routel

Walz appoints two judges for 4th Judicial District

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have announced the appointments of Rachel Hughey and Colette Routel as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District. These seats will be chambered in Minneapolis.

Hughey will be replacing Judge Margaret A. Daly.

“I am proud to appoint Ms. Hughey to the 4th Judicial District bench,” Walz said in a news release. “She is an accomplished lawyer who brings extensive legal and courtroom experience and devotion to public service. Ms. Hughey will be an outstanding addition to the bench.”

“Ms. Hughey is a remarkable and compassionate leader,” said Flanagan. “Her deep commitment to community by representing the unheard and unseen, outstanding qualifications, and strong work ethic will strengthen Hennepin County District Court.”

Routel will be replacing Judge Kathleen D. Sheehy.

“I am also proud to appoint Ms. Routel to the 4th Judicial District bench,” said Walz in the release. “She is a brilliant lawyer who brings a unique perspective with her many years of experience as an attorney, tribal court judge, and law professor. I am confident that Ms. Routel will serve the people of Hennepin County with distinction.”

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Colette Routel on the bench. She has demonstrated her deep commitment through her work at Mitchell Hamline by teaching and developing the next generation of leaders who can go out and change the world for the better,” said Flanagan. “As a successful litigator and one of the nation’s leading authorities on Indian law issues, she’ll be a tremendous jurist and add important perspectives to the bench.”

Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District encompasses Hennepin County.

Hughey is a partner and shareholder at Merchant & Gould, where she litigates complex commercial disputes in state and federal courts in Minnesota and around the country. She is a member and past chair of Merchant & Gould’s Pro Bono Committee, co-chair of the firm’s Appellate Group, former chair of the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee, and former chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative. Previously, Hughey served as a judicial law clerk on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Her current community involvement includes serving as a member of the ACLU-MN Board, a member and past chair of the Volunteer Lawyers Network Board, a member of the Hennepin County Bar Association Board, and a co-founder and president of The Honorable Jimmie V. Reyna Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. Hughey is also a volunteer with the Advocates for Human Rights, Children’s Law Center, Volunteer Lawyers Network, and the State Public Defender’s Office. She previously served as a member of the YouthCARE Board, a member of the University of Minnesota Law School Board of Advisors, and a legal writing professor and moot court instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Routel is a professor of law and co-director of the Native American Law & Sovereignty Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where she teaches Property, Federal Indian Law, the Indian Law Impact Litigation Clinic, and other subjects. Routel also serves as Of Counsel at Hogen Adams, PLLC and as an appellate judge for the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She has previously taught at the University of Michigan Law School and Wayne State University Law School, and she has worked at the Jacobson Law Group and Faegre & Benson LLP (now Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP). She is a special member of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, and a member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association. Routel has maintained a robust pro bono practice throughout her career. In recent years, she has written eight amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and litigated several cases in state and federal courts on behalf of Indian tribes. Her previous pro bono activities include running a criminal defense clinic on the Menominee Indian Reservation, representing environmental non-profit organizations, and providing representation in asylum, housing, and family law matters.

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