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Natalie Hudson sworn in as Minnesota Supreme Court's first chief justice of color

Natalie Hudson sworn in as Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice
Natalie Hudson sworn in as Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice 02:43

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota made history Monday as the newest chief justice of the state Supreme Court was sworn in.

Natalie Hudson took the oath of office, officially becoming the first person of color to hold the position.

Of the state's 21 previous chief justices, only two were women and none was a person of color.

"With the weight of history as our backdrop, I do not take this honor lightly," Hudson said Monday afternoon. "And I'm eager to work with each and every one of you as we uphold the cause of justice in our beloved state."

The monumental day comes about three months after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Hudson's promotion. She said at the time it's a tremendous responsibility that she's ready for.

Chief Justice Natalie Hudson WCCO

A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Hudson's career has spanned public and private practice and academia. She served as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals for 13 years and takes over for Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, who retired last month. 

Although Hudson is making history, she's not the first groundbreaker in her family. They moved to Minnesota from Missouri in 1968, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Her dad became the first Black football coach at Macalester College. 

She says becoming the first Black person to be the chief justice in Minnesota is humbling.

"It's important for community to see that excellence comes in all races and ethnicities and genders and forms of ability. And I think it's as important for the White community to see that as it is for the Black community to see that, again, to normalize that," Hudson said.

Hudson told WCCO in a sitdown interview last month that one of her top priorities is to make it easier for people to navigate the courts with more virtual hearings.

"Making sure our justice system is accessible to everyone and trying to increase the public's trust and confidence in the judicial system. And so I want to keep working on that access piece, because the justice system is not just for people who can afford it," she said.

Hudson wasn't the only one who made history Monday. Karl Procaccini was sworn in as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He becomes the first Muslim to sit on the court.

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