Chief Justice finalists all Pawlenty stalwarts

Ever since Chief Justice Eric Magnuson announced his retirement from the Minnesota Supreme Court in March, court-watchers have wondered who the governor would pick to replace him. Today, Pawlenty announced his short-list, and it doesn't contain any surprises.

All three finalists -- G. Barry Anderson, Christopher Dietzen, and Lorie Gildea -- are three of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court. All of them were appointed to the court by Pawlenty. They also happen to be the only justices who sided with T-Paw in the case that overturned his budget unallotment earlier this month.

Pawlenty hasn't said when he'll make his final selection for Chief Justice. Whichever of the sitting justices he chooses will leave another vacancy on the court for Pawlenty to fill. Magnuson, another Pawlenty appointee albeit one who clashed frequently with the Governor, has said he will step down in June.

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