Walz picks Ramsey County judge to fill vacancy on Court of Appeals

The state’s next appellate judge has officially been announced.

Gov. Tim Walz says Ramsey County Judge JaPaul Harris will fill the vacancy on the state court. He fills the spot that opened when Judge Jeffrey Bryan was confirmed to the federal bench in late November.

In his announcement, Walz called Harris “an experienced judge with a diverse practice background who has consistently worked to build trust in the courts.”

“Whether by guiding parties through housing court as a judicial referee or assisting low-income families as a legal aid attorney, he has always been committed to helping those who need it the most,” Walz said.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Natalie Hudson said that Walz “could not have made a better choice” and called Harris “an intellectually gifted jurist whose wisdom, incisiveness, and depth of character will bring a thoughtful, measured voice to the Court of Appeals.”

Harris was appointed to the Second Judicial District by former Gov. Mark Dayton in July 2018 and was then elected in 2020. Before his current role, Harris spent several years as a judicial referee in Hennepin County and was also an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, now known as Mitchell Hamline.