Douglas K. Amdahl

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Douglas K. Amdahl
Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court
In office
Nominated by Al Quie
Preceded by Robert Sheran
Succeeded by Peter S. Popovich
Personal details
Born January 23, 1919
Mabel, Minnesota
Died August 24, 2010(2010-08-24) (aged 91)
Richfield, Minnesota
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Minnesota
William Mitchell College of Law

Douglas K. Amdahl (January 23, 1919 – August 24, 2010) was an American lawyer and judge from Minnesota. He served as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from December 1981 to January 1989.[1]

Amdahl was raised in the small town of Mabel in southeastern Minnesota. He was the son of Olean and Beaulah Amdahl. He father, who was a Norwegian immigrant, operated a shoe repair shop. Amdahl served in World War II in the Army's Signals Intelligence Service as a cryptologist within the European theatre. He served as a judge in Hennepin County from 1961 to 1980.[2]

While chief justice, Amdahl was a leader in establishing the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which was created in 1983. Prior to that, if a person believed a district judge erred in a ruling, the only avenue for appeal was the state supreme court, which could take up to three years to issue a ruling. The creation of the appeals court enabled a quicker resolution to cases and provided additional oversight in the judicial process.[3]

Amdahl sponsored the construction of the Hennepin County government center located in downtown Minneapolis. As a Hennepin County chief judge, he cut the ribbon, recommended the design of the judicial chambers, and tirelessly campaigned for funding. He also pushed for a new building on the Minnesota Capitol mall to be dedicated to the judicial branch. Once the appeals court was established, it needed a place to work and hear cases. At the time, the supreme court worked in the east wing of the state capitol, but there was no room for additional offices or chambers for the appeals court. The Minnesota Judicial Center was completed in 1992. Amdahl also taught at William Mitchell College of Law (where he graduated summa cum laude) and served on its board of trustees.[4][5]

Amdahl died on August 24, 2010 at the age of 91 and was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.[6]


  1. ^ "Douglas K. Amdahl, Chief Justice". Minnesota State Law Library. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Douglas Amdahl, once of Mabel". Bluff Country Newspaper Group. September 1, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ Jessica Mador Retired Minn. justice Douglas Amdahl dies Minnesota Public Radio. Aug 24, 2010
  4. ^ James C. Otis (1989). "A Tribute to Douglas K. Amdahl". William Mitchell Law Review, Volume 15, Issue 1, Article 7. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  5. ^ Jessica Thompson Minnesota's Legal Hall of Fame Minnesota Law & Politics
  6. ^ "Douglas K. Amdahl". StarTribune. August 24, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 

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