Skip to Main Content
Minnesota State Law Library Logo

Minnesota State Law Library

Russell A. Anderson, Associate Justice, 1998-2006; Chief Justice 2006-2008

Russel A. Anderson

Portrait of Chief Justice Russell A. Anderson


Russell A. Anderson served as Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1998 to 2006, and as Chief Justice from 2006 to 2008.


Russell A. Anderson was born on May 28, 1942, in Bemidji, Minnesota. Anderson excelled in school, was active in sports and student government, and edited the school newspaper. He also worked summers at his father’s gas station and his uncle’s farm. Anderson credits his parents for encouraging him to excel in school, wanting him to have the opportunities that had not been available to them.  

Anderson attended Saint Olaf College, where he majored in history and economics. He was also active in student government and severed as student body president his senior year. He graduated with a 1964. After Saint Olaf, Anderson enrolled in law school at the University of Minnesota. He completed his J.D. in 1968 and was commissioned as an officer into the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Anderson served overseas in Japan for several years and then in Washington, D.C., where he also managed to complete an LL.M at George Washington University.

Anderson returned to Minnesota in 1976, and entered private practice at the Bemidji law firm of Romaine Powell, before launching his own practice. He also served as Beltrami county attorney from 1978 to 1982. Governor Al Quie appointed Anderson to the district court in 1982, where he served sixteen years as the 9th district judge in Crookston, Minnesota.

On September 1, 1998, Governor Arnie Carlson appointed Anderson Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and in in 2006, Governor Tim Pawlenty appointed him Chief Justice, effective January 11, 2006. Chief Justice Anderson retired from the Court on June 1, 2008.

Chief Justice Russell Anderson died September 15, 2020.

You may read more about the life and work of Chief Justice Russell A. Anderson in the links and resources listed in this research guide, which are the source of this brief biography. 

Signature of Russell Anderson

Image credit: Signature clipped from his Oath of Office, January 10, 2006, courtesy of the Minnesota Secretary of State