Eric J. Magnuson

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"Eric Magnuson" redirects here. For the American football offensive lineman, see Erik Magnuson. For various Scandinavian royalty, see Eric Magnusson.
Eric J. Magnuson
Magnuson in 2010
Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court
In office
June 2, 2008 – July 1, 2010
Nominated by Tim Pawlenty
Preceded by Russell A. Anderson
Succeeded by Lorie Skjerven Gildea
Personal details
Born (1951-01-27) January 27, 1951 (age 66)
Morris, Illinois
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Minnesota
William Mitchell College of Law

Eric John Magnuson (born January 27, 1951) is an American lawyer in private practice. He was the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 2008 to 2010.

Education and professional background[edit]

Magnuson was born in Morris, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 1972, and from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul in 1976. During his third year of law school, Magnuson clerked for future state Chief Justice Douglas Amdahl, then a Hennepin County district judge. The following year, he clerked for then-Chief Justice Robert Sheran.[1]

Magnuson joined the Minneapolis law firm of Rider Bennett in 1977. An appellate lawyer in the state and federal courts, he served as president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and founded the Eighth Circuit Bar Association. Governor Tim Pawlenty chose him to chair the state Commission on Judicial Selection from 2003 to 2008. In 2007, after Rider Bennett dissolved, he joined the Minneapolis law firm of Briggs & Morgan.[2]

Supreme Court term[edit]

Magnuson on the State Canvassing Board in 2008

On March 17, 2008, Governor Pawlenty appointed Magnuson Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court to succeed the retiring Russell A. Anderson. He was sworn in on June 2, 2008.[3]

Magnuson served on the State Canvassing Board for the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2008.

On March 11, 2010, Magnuson announced that he would be stepping down as chief justice on June 30, 2010, returning to the private practice of law. In his resignation letter to the governor, he cited "reasons personal to me and my family."[4]

On May 5, 2010, Magnuson authored a 4-3 decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court, ruling that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had overstepped his authority by rescinding funding passed by the Minnesota legislature. The ruling was notable in that Pawlenty was Magnuson's former law partner.[5]

Post-Supreme Court[edit]

Magnuson became a partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., and teaches at Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In 2014, the Minnesota Vikings hired Magnuson and Chris Madel to lead an independent investigation concerning the Vikings' termination of Chris Kluwe.[6]


Legal offices
Preceded by
Russell A. Anderson
Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court
2008 – 2010
Succeeded by
Lorie Skjerven Gildea