Use Your Skills to the Fullest, Pawlenty Encourages Audience
On April 16, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty addressed a crowd of nearly 200 at an event at the University of Minnesota Law School sponsored by the School's chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. The audience included students, faculty, staff, and the Law School's interim co-deans Fred Morrison and Guy Charles.
A graduate of the University in 1983 and the Law School in 1986, Pawlenty reflected on his time as a student and encouraged current students to use the analytical, research, communication, and advocacy skills they learn to their full potential, whether in the practice of law or in other endeavors, such as government and public service. Once trained as an advocate, he said, law graduates have the ability to use those skills in a variety of ways. He talked about opportunities available in the state and current policy challenges facing Minnesota's elected officials.
Asked to discuss his philosophy on selecting judges, he commented that by the time he sees candidates, they have all the education and practical experience that make up a good resume. What he looks for, Pawlenty said, are intangibles, such as a "heart for people" and a "heart for justice."
Pawlenty mentioned his wife, Mary Anderson Pawlenty, who also received her J.D. from Minnesota in 1986. She was appointed a district court judge by Governor Arne Carlson in 1994 and served as a judge on criminal, civil, family, and juvenile cases until 2007. As first lady of Minnesota, she visits elementary schools to teach children about democracy and government, particularly the judicial branch.
Pawlenty encouraged students to stay involved, use their talents and energies outside of their careers, and expand their appreciation for concerns outside of law. "The measure of a person isn’t where he or she stands in times of comfort or privilege," Pawlenty quoted from Martin Luther King, "it's where he or she stands in times of challenge and controversy."
After sharing his thoughts on such issues as education, competitiveness in a global economy, renewable energy, and health care, he spend the remainder of the time, nearly half of his visit, answering questions from students.
The Minnesota Daily has a webcast video summary of the event available online at http://www.mndaily.com/loadAV.php?mult_id=235 (Quicktime).
By Jason Martell (class of 2008), President, University of Minnesota Law School chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.