ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Associate Justice Helen Meyer said Thursday she’s stepping down from the Minnesota Supreme Court, giving Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton his first chance to make an appointment to the conservative-leaning high court.

Meyer, 58, will leave effective Aug. 10. She said in a statement that she’s looking forward to returning to the life of a private citizen but did not give a reason for her decision.

Meyer was appointed in 2002 by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura of the Independence Party and she was twice elected to six-year terms. Meyer was born in St. Joseph and grew up on a Stearns County dairy farm. She’s a 1982 graduate of the William Mitchell College of Law. Before joining the Supreme Court, she worked for 20 years as a civil litigator and mediator.

Her successor will be the state’s first Supreme Court justice appointed by a Democratic governor since Rudy Perpich named Sandra Gardebring to the high court in one of his last actions before leaving office in 1991. Gardebring served until 1998.

Five of the seven current justices were appointed by Republican governors. The court’s longest-serving justice, Alan Page, was elected to an open seat in 1992.

Dayton’s office said he will ask the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection to assist in soliciting candidates, evaluating applicants and recommending a nominee to him. Judicial nominees don’t need legislative confirmation, but they must face voters periodically.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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