Congratulations to Jerry W. Blackwell and the members of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection appointed under Mark Dayton on being honored in the 3rd annual Minnesota Lawyer Diversity & Inclusion Awards.
The Commission on Judicial Selection solicits and evaluates judicial candidates and makes recommendations to the Governor for appointment. Under Mark Dayton the Commission increased the diversity of the Minnesota bench. As stated in an interview with KARE-11 on increasing diversity in the courtroom Blackwell said, “It’s important in a system of justice that the judges that get appointed reflect the ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity of our state as a whole.”
The Commission, along with appointing Minnesota’s first Hmong, Native American, and openly gay judges increased the number of judges of color by 93 percent, female judges by 35 percent, and Hispanic judges by 84 percent.
Mr. Blackwell served two four-year terms on the Commission. His commitment to diversity extends beyond the judicial system and to his clients. In 2019 Blackwell Burke P.A. partnered with Volunteer Lawyers Network to provide pro bono criminal expungement for individuals seeking aid in employment and housing, a population which is disproportionally poor or of people of color.
Mr. Blackwell was a co-founder and two-time president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. He has received several recognitions from the National Bar Association for leadership in diversity.