Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Gov. Walz appoints Elizabeth Bentley to the Minnesota Court of Appeals


April 30, 2024

Contact: Claire Lancaster 



Governor Walz Appoints Elizabeth Bentley to the Minnesota Court of Appeals


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the appointment of Elizabeth Bentley to an at-large seat on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Bentley will fill the vacancy that will occur upon the elevation of the Honorable Theodora Gaïtas to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

“It is my honor to appoint Elizabeth Bentley to the Minnesota Court of Appeals,” said Governor Walz. “Her appellate experience at all levels of our state and federal courts will make her a valuable asset to the judiciary. Her work in advancing and promoting Minnesotans’ civil rights through appellate advocacy demonstrates her deep understanding of the law and commitment to improving the common good.”

“I am elated by this appointment,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Throughout her career, Elizabeth Bentley’s focus has always been on pushing the status quo in pursuit of a more fair and just legal system. Her legal brilliance and commitment to this pursuit will make her a remarkable jurist.”

“I am thrilled for the people of Minnesota to gain a judge whose quiet brilliance is matched with a boundless energy to get things done,” said Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. “Elizabeth Bentley, my former law clerk, has an unflinching commitment to service and is extraordinarily well rounded in her exposure to civil, criminal, public, and private trial and appellate work. Best of all, she is an amazing person."

“Throughout her career, Elizabeth Bentley has demonstrated her commitment to the rule of law,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “When she served on my staff, I witnessed firsthand her considerable knowledge, deep understanding of the law, and passion for justice. I congratulate her on her appointment and am confident she will serve the justice system and the people of Minnesota well."

“I am very excited by the Governor’s appointment,” said Chief Judge Susan Segal, chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “Professor Bentley’s depth of appellate expertise, paired with her sense of humility and strong work ethic, make her a particularly strong choice for our bench. I also know that she will be ready from day one to roll up her sleeves and will devote her attention to each case, giving full meaning to the ideals of equal justice, fairness, and impartiality.”


About Elizabeth Bentley 

Elizabeth Bentley is the founder and director of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic and a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School. She was previously special counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar during the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and an attorney in the appellate practice group at Jones Day. Bentley also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Her community involvement includes serving on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee of the Appellate Practice Section Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association and as co-chair of the Justice and Democracy Center Committee, which is a civic education initiative of the Minnesota Federal Bar Association. Bentley received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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

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