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Andrew Holt, Associate Justice 1912-1942

Biography of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice

Andrew Holt

Portrait of Andrew Holt

Among his many distinctions, Justice Holt is noted for being the first member of the Court to have been born in Minnesota. 


Born on a small farm in Carver County, Minnesota on May 20, 1855, Andrew D. Holt attended the common schools of the county before enrolling at St. Ansgar's Academy, now Gustavus Adolphus College. He later attended the University of Minnesota, from which he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1880.

Without the benefit of a law school, Holt studied the law and was admitted to practice in 1881. He practiced law in the city of Minneapolis for several years. He ran for the Legislature in 1884 as an independent (Prohibition and Butler) candidate, but lost. He was appointed Municipal Judge in January 1894, then elected in the fall of 1894, and again in the fall of 1900.

Holt was elected to the district bench in 1904, and served for seven years before being appointed Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1911 by Governor A.O. Eberhart. He was elected for the full term of six years in 1912 and reelected in 1918, 1924, 1930 and 1936.

Justice Holt retired from the Court in 1942, at the age of 87. He was then appointed Supreme Court Commissioner and served until his death on February 11, 1948, at the age of 92. Among his many distinctions, Justice Holt is noted for being the first member of the Court to have been born in Minnesota.

During his five terms, Justice Holt wrote 1,687 opinions for the Court and 114 dissents. His opinions can be found in volumes 116 – 213 of Minnesota Reports. He wrote 21 opinions as a Commissioner, which can be found in volumes 216 – 218.

You may read more about the life and work of Justice Holt in his memorial, linked below, and in the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society's book Testimony: Remembering Minnesota's Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this brief biography.

Image Credits: Portrait of Andrew Holt from Men in Minnesota: A Collection of the Portraits of Men Prominent in Business and Professional Life in Minnesota, 2nd ed. (St. Paul: R. L. Polk & Co, 1915); Andrew Holt's signature in the Roll of Attorneys, Supreme Court, State of Minnesota, 1858-1970, p. 14. Available online at: