MALSP October 2019 Meeting: Ask a Judge Anything
We're thrilled to have the Honorable Chief Judge John R. Tunheim from the United States District Court, District of Minnesota speak with us at our October meeting. We're reaching out and asking our MALSP members and contacts for any questions you have for the Chief Judge. You may have heard of an "AMA" (Ask Me Anything); this is our take on that: "AJA" (Ask a Judge Anything)!
Chief Judge John R. Tunheim has served as a United States District Judge in the District of Minnesota for nearly twenty-four years after being nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1995. He has served as Chief Judge of the mid-sized district since 2015. From 1994-1998, Judge Tunheim served as Chair of the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board, a federal agency that declassified the remaining secret records of the assassination of President Kennedy. Before his appointment as a judge, he served as Minnesota’s Chief Deputy Attorney General, where he argued three cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, and earlier, as Staff Assistant to U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey and Law Clerk for U.S. District Judge Earl Larson. He has devoted much of his judicial career to helping develop the rule of law in new democracies, including drafting the Kosovo Constitution and developing a modern legal system in Uzbekistan. He has worked extensively on assisting countries in developing better responses to terrorism trials, primarily in South Asia. Chief Judge Tunheim served for four years as the Chair and ten years as a Member of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management.
He is a graduate of Concordia College and the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as President of the Law Review. He has served as Chair of the Concordia College Board of Regents and Chair of Advisory Council at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The University of Minnesota honored Judge Tunheim in 2010 with its Outstanding Achievement Award. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the CEELI Institute in Prague and a member of the Executive Committee of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association.
He is a fourth generation descendant of Norwegian immigrants and was raised in the northwestern Minnesota farming village of Newfolden. He is married to Kathy Tunheim, CEO of Tunheim, a communications firm in the Twin Cities, and father to Liz Tunheim Sheets, a Vice President at Tunheim, and Sam Tunheim, a lawyer at Dorsey and Whitney in Minneapolis.
--United States v. Danny Heinrichs (child porn prosecution that involved the confession to the murder of Jacob Wetterling
--Arctic Cat v. Bombardier (patent infringement case on the modern snowmobile design)
--Telescope Media v. State of Minnesota (challenge by wedding video producers trying to avoid having to video same-sex weddings)
--United States v. Gerald Hennessey (Ashby MN elevator manager who stole over $5 million dollars from the coop’s members)
--Portz v. St. Cloud State University (Title IX claim against University alleging unequal benefits and facilities for female athletes)
--United States v. Gerald Ruzicka (criminal fraud case against the former CEO of Starkey Laboratories - hearing aid company)
--Lakes and Parks Alliance v. Metropolitan Council (challenge to Southwest Light Rail route decisions)
--Al-Kadi v. Ramsey County (Muslim woman constitutional challenge to treatment received at Ramsey County Adult Detention Center)
--Richland-Wilkin Counties v. Fargo Moorhead Flood District (challenge to Army Corps of Engineers project to provide flood protection to Fargo-Moorhead area)
--Jenson v. Eveleth Mines (first sexual harassment class action ever - against mining company for treatment of the first women hired to work in taconite plants in NW Minnesota, subject of the movie North Country and the book Class Action)