Diana Murphy ’74, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Eighth Circuit, Dies

May 17, 2018

Judge Diana E. Murphy ’74, the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, has died.

Murphy joined the Eighth Circuit bench in 1994, having been nominated by President Bill Clinton. For 19 years, she was the court’s sole woman member. She had previously served 14 years as a judge in the U.S. District Court, including two years as chief judge. Her prior experience included serving as a judge on the Hennepin County Municipal Court and working as a lawyer in private practice in Minneapolis.

Murphy also chaired the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 1999 to 2004.

At the Law School, Murphy was an editor of the Minnesota Law Review.

Murphy had taken senior judge status on the Eighth Circuit in 2016. Suffering from long-term health issues, she last month announced her plan to fully retire effective in July.

Earlier this year, Murphy was recognized by Minnesota Lawyer with its Outstanding Service to the Profession Award for her lifetime achievements.

“Judge Murphy will be remembered as a pioneer in the profession, a principled and incisive judge, and a pillar of the community,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins. “Her long and distinguished career of judicial service is legendary, and the Law School has always been proud of its affiliation with her. She will be greatly missed. The state and the nation owe a debt of gratitude to this great judicial and civic leader.”

More coverage:

Judge Diana E. Murphy ’74
Judge Diana E. Murphy ’74

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