News and Information from the Minnesota Solicitor General
This page provides basic information and important announcements from Minnesota’s Solicitor General. It describes the role of the Solicitor General, information about how to ask the State of Minnesota to participate as amicus curiae, and other updates relating to the Solicitor’s activities in Minnesota courts.
- Responsibilities of the Minnesota Solicitor General
- Biography of Solicitor General Liz Kramer
- Past Solicitors General
- Providing Notice of Constitutional Challenges
- Requests for Amicus Participation by State
- News and Updates
Responsibilities of the Minnesota Solicitor General
Minnesota law requires that there be a solicitor general in the Attorney General’s Office, but it does not give any detail about their role. (Check out Section 8.12 of Minnesota law.) As a result, past Attorneys General have shaped the role in the way that best served each administration and the people of the state.
In the federal system and in most other state attorney general offices, the solicitor general handles exclusively appellate work. In Minnesota, however, the role is broader. Our solicitor general does oversee the Office’s appellate work, including arguing major cases at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Minnesota Supreme Court, and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. But the solicitor general also plays a key role when important cases are in district court. For example, if a plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of state law, the solicitor general may lead the defense of that case from the start.
Outside those roles, the Minnesota Solicitor General is involved in Attorney General Opinions, responding to amicus requests, responding to notices of constitutional challenges (under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 5A or Appellate Rule 144), engaging outside counsel, and generally serving as a trusted advisor to the Attorney General.
Biography of Solicitor General Liz Kramer
Liz Kramer is currently Minnesota’s Solicitor General, a position Attorney General Keith Ellison appointed her to in February of 2019. She received multiple recognitions as one of Minnesota’s Attorney of the Year in 2020 for her work defending COVID-19 executive orders and election processes.
Before her appointment, Liz was a partner at Stinson LLP, where her litigation practice focused on arbitration, construction projects, and appeals. Liz led Stinson’s Appellate Committee and chaired the Appellate Practice section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. During her term as chair, she helped start a monthly appellate clinic for self-represented parties. Liz is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Yale Law School and clerked for Justice Helen Meyer on the Minnesota Supreme Court. She serves on the boards of the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society and the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.
Past Solicitors General
In 1955, the Minnesota Legislature passed Minn. Stat. § 8.12, which created the solicitor general role. Except for a year or so in the 1980s, the State has had a solicitor general ever since.
In 2023, the Minnesota Attorney General Office set out to document all the previous solicitors general of the state. There was no comprehensive information available. The chart below is based on Westlaw searches, past state phone books, past Attorney General reports to the Legislature, and email confirmation to past solicitors. (If you discover any errors, please let us know!)
One thing is certain, this list is formidable. Former solicitors went on to become federal judges, a U.S. Senator, and Minnesota Attorney General, as well as leaders in Minnesota’s provision of legal aid and other prominent members of the legal community.
|Attorney General||Solicitor General||Dates of Service|
|MILES LORD (1955-1960)|
|Charles E. Houston||1955-continued|
|WALTER MONDALE (1960-1964)|
|Charles E. Houston||1960-1964|
|J. Earl Cudd||1964 - continued|
|ROBERT W. MATTSON, SR. (1964-1967)|
|J. Earl Cudd||1964-1965|
|Gerard W. Snell||1965 - continued|
|DOUG HEAD (1967-1971)|
|Gerard W. Snell||1967 – 1969|
|Richard H. Kyle||1968-1970|
|Jerome D. Truhn||1970 - continued|
|WARREN SPANNAUS (1971-1982)|
|Jerome D. Truhn||1971 (briefly)|
|John M. Mason||1971-1972|
|Curtis D. Forslund||1972-1974|
|Jonathan H. Morgan||1973-1975|
|Peter W. Sipkins||1974-1976|
|Richard B. Allyn||1976-1981|
|HUBERT HUMPHREY, III (1983-1999)|
|John R. Tunheim||1985-1986|
|Norman B. Coleman, Jr.||1987-1989|
|Alan I. Gilbert||1995-continued|
|MIKE HATCH (1999-2007)|
|Alan I. Gilbert||1999-2002|
|LORI SWANSON (2007-2019)|
|Alan I. Gilbert||2007-2019|
|KEITH ELLISON (2019-PRESENT)|
Providing Notice of Constitutional Challenges
Parties challenging the constitutionality of state law must provide notice to the Attorney General’s Office. Notice is required regardless of whether the parties are in state or federal court. And additional notice is required at every appellate level.
The process and service requirements vary from court to court, so parties should carefully review the relevant rules. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 5A; Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 144; Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.1; Fed. R. App. P. 44; Sup. Ct. R. 29.4(c).
When appropriate, service by mail should be sent to:
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN, 55101
When appropriate, personal service should be initiated at:
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN, 55101
Please visit the security desk on the second level of Town Square Tower (near the Department of Public Safety). Security personnel will notify the Attorney General’s Office, which will send someone down.
When appropriate, parties can electronically serve the Attorney General’s Office with a notice of constitutional challenge using the state courts’ e-filing system. In the appellate courts' E-MACS system, parties should click the "Add Attorney" link, then click the "Attorney Search" link, and in the last name field enter "Attorney General" or in the Bar ID field enter 09000890x.
Requests for Amicus Participation by State
The Attorney General occasionally seeks to participate in litigation, even when none of its clients are parties. Generally, that is because an important issue of state law will be decided in the case, or there is a significant impact on the state or its government. If the constitutionality of a statute is at issue, the Attorney General has the right to intervene in the case as a party. In other situations, the Attorney General, or the State of Minnesota, will ask the court’s permission to participate as an amicus curiae – a friend of the court.
If you want the Attorney General, or any part of the executive branch, to support a case as an amicus, you can send that request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests should include the due date for amicus briefs, a summary of the case and issues, a summary of how the case affects the State, a copy of the decision being appealed, and anything else you think would be helpful. When considering whether to make a request, please keep in mind that courts want amicus briefs to discuss “relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties.” Sup. Ct. R. 37.1.
News and Updates
- The Minnesota Supreme Court heard argument on September 6th in Brian Lipschultz’s appeal of his removal as a trustee of the Otto Bremer Trust.
- The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision that the Attorney General can continue its enforcement action against a New York investment firm that owns significant rental properties in Minnesota in State of Minnesota v. HavenBrook Homes, despite that company’s argument that Minnesota courts cannot exercise jurisdiction over it.
- The Minnesota Court of Appeals in Doe v. State affirmed the district court’s decision that a county attorney failed to prove he was entitled to intervene in a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of state laws.
- The Minnesota Supreme Court will soon issue a decision in Cruz-Guzman v. State, representing the second time it has addressed legal issues in that case arising under the Education Clause of the Minnesota Constitution.