LaFayette Emmett

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The Honorable
Lafayette Emmett
Chief Justice, Minnesota
In office
Nominated by Henry Hastings Sibley
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Thomas Wilson
Personal details
Born (1822-05-08)May 8, 1822
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Died August 10, 1905(1905-08-10) (aged 83)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nationality American
Political party Democratic

LaFayette Emmett (May 8, 1822 – August 10, 1905) was an American lawyer and an early leader in Minnesota law. He was the second attorney general of the Minnesota Territory from 1853 to 1858 and the first chief justice of the state supreme court, serving from 1858 to 1865.[1]

Emmett was born and raised in Ohio,[2] died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was buried in Faribault, Minnesota. He had nine children and was the father-in-law of Miguel Antonio Otero, who was governor of the New Mexico Territory from 1897 to 1906.[3]

In the divided convention which drafted the Minnesota Constitution, he served as a Democrat and advocated the popular election of judges, a position that was adopted. He said, "if the people are incapable of selecting their judges, they are also incapable of selecting the man who is to appoint the judges."[4]


  1. ^ Porter, Lorle (2005). Politics & peril: Mount Vernon, Ohio in the Nineteenth Century. Equine Graphics Publishing Group. ISBN 1-887932-25-9. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Minnesota Reports, Proceedings in Memory of Chief Justice Emmett
  4. ^ Minnesota Reports, Proceedings in Memory of Chief Justice Emmett