Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Gov. Walz appoints Theodora Gaïtas and Sarah Hennesy to the Minnesota Supreme Court


April 22, 2024

Contact: Claire Lancaster



Governor Walz Appoints Theodora Gaïtas and Sarah Hennesy to the Minnesota Supreme Court


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the appointments of Theodora Gaïtas and Sarah Hennesy as associate justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Gaïtas will be replacing the Honorable Margaret H. Chutich and Hennesy will be replacing the Honorable G. Barry Anderson.

“I am honored to appoint Judge Gaïtas to the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Governor Walz. “She is a remarkable jurist who has served at all levels of our judiciary. Her understanding of the complexities of our judicial system will make her an excellent addition to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

“Judge Gaïtas will be an extraordinary justice who will bring a wealth of life and legal experience to our state’s highest court,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “As a longtime appellate public defender, she will never lose sight of the people behind every decision of the justice system.”

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Minnesota Supreme Court, and I thank Governor Walz and his team for their trust in me,” said Judge Theodora Gaïtas of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “As an associate justice, I will strive to apply the law fairly and justly for all Minnesotans.”

“As Chief Justice, I am pleased to welcome both Chief Judge Sarah Hennesy and Judge Theodora Gaïtas to the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Natalie Hudson of the Minnesota Supreme Court. “Both are experienced, well-respected jurists who bring exceptional intellectual gifts and a deep commitment to serving the people of Minnesota. This is a great day for Minnesota.”

“I am delighted to learn that Judge Gaïtas has been selected for our Supreme Court,” said Cathryn Middlebrook of the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender. “I have always been impressed by the complete person that Judge Gaïtas is. Her experience, deep knowledge of the law, and her reasoned and compassionate commitment to justice bring an essential perspective to the court and to the State of Minnesota.”

“Judge Gaïtas is an outstanding choice to serve as a member of our Supreme Court,” said Chief Judge Susan Segal of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “She brings a depth of knowledge from her years in practice before joining the bench and her service on both the district court and the Court of Appeals. Judge Gaïtas has been a talented and valued colleague on the Court of Appeals, and I know that she has the wisdom, judgment, and commitment to equal justice and the rule of law that will make her an extraordinary justice.”


About Theodora Gaïtas:   

Theodora Gaïtas is a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She previously served as a judge in the Fourth Judicial District, where she presided over a felony caseload in the criminal division and as co-chair of the Domestic Violence Steering Committee. Gaïtas is co-chair of the Tribal Court State Court Forum, a committee that promotes collaboration between tribal courts and state courts in Minnesota, and co-chair of the Court of Appeals’ Equal Justice Committee and law clerk recruiting committee. Gaïtas’s community involvement includes presenting at legal education events, serving as a moot court judge, and volunteering with Meals on Wheels. She earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.


“It is my privilege to appoint Chief Judge Sarah Hennesy,” said Governor Walz. “Not only is she a brilliant legal mind with extensive judicial experience, but she is a leader who knows how to move the needle towards justice.”

“I am thrilled with Chief Judge Hennesy’s appointment,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Her greater Minnesota perspective, combined with her passion for service and a deep connection to the people she serves, will make her an exceptional justice on the Supreme Court. I look forward to seeing her thrive in her new role.”

“I am profoundly honored to be selected to serve as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Chief Judge Sarah Hennesy of the Seventh Judicial District. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the Governor and his team for entrusting me with this immense responsibility. As a justice of this Court, I will work collaboratively with my colleagues to interpret the law faithfully, uphold the Constitution, and ensure that justice is accessible to all Minnesotans.”

“I’m elated that Chief Judge Sarah Hennesy will be joining the Supreme Court,” said Justice Margaret Chutich of the Minnesota Supreme Court. “She is fair, experienced, compassionate, and respectful of every person who appears before her. It’s a great day for the court and for Minnesota!”

“Humble, wise, kind, and talented is how I would describe Sarah,” said Justice Anne McKeig of the Minnesota Supreme Court. “Her leadership experience, along with her district court street smarts, will serve the court well. I am excited to have her join the court.”


About Sarah Hennesy:  

Sarah Hennesy is the chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District and is chambered in St. Cloud. She previously practiced law in both appellate and trial courts as an appellate public defender in Iowa, as a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, and as a staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid in St. Cloud. Hennesy also serves as chair of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the General Rules of Practice. Her community involvement includes speaking at Minnesota Women Lawyers Association and other legal organization events, volunteering as a judge and coach for mock trial teams and working with local schools to help students learn about the judiciary. She earned her B.A. from Central College and her J.D. from Drake Law School.

For more information about the judicial selection process, please visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage.


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