Tim Pawlenty appoints Lorie Gildea as Chief Justice

Lorie Gildea, the Minnesota Supreme Court Justice who offered a full-throated dissent when the high court slapped down Tim Pawlenty's unilateral budget balancing gambit two weeks ago, is going to be the court's new Chief Justice.

Pawlenty announced her as his pick today in what are likely to be the last Supreme Court appointments of his term. Gildea, appointed by Pawlenty to the Supreme Court in 2006, replaces Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, who is stepping down in June.

Gildea's seat on the bench will in turn be filled by University of Minnesota law professor David Stras, who writes frequently on the U.S. Supreme Court and who once clerked for Clarence Thomas.

Stras also supported the legality of Pawlenty's unallotment, and filed a brief to the Supreme Court saying as much.

Here's video of T-Paw making the announcement:

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