Pawlenty's Supreme Court picks offer window into his judicial philosophy

Governor's appointments shift balance of the state's most powerful court

"With Magnuson, I'm sure Pawlenty thought he was appointing someone who was like him," Swanson says. "But Magnuson's an independent cuss. He's ready to go around the state undermining what the governor wants to do."

So who will Pawlenty pick for Magnuson's replacement? Based on the pattern of his earlier appointments, it's a safe bet he'll select a conservative lawyer from the private sector.

"The thing about the kind of people that Pawlenty likes to appoint is that while their judicial philosophy is reliably conservative, they're deeply independent people," Swanson says. "Everyone on that court right now, whatever their judicial philosophy, they're smart and they go their own way." 

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