The Twin Cities Cardozo Society is an affinity group of Jewish lawyers and judges who contribute to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation or the United Jewish Fund and Council of St. Paul. Its annual dinner has turned into a great event that features awards to two attorneys for personal and professional excellence. It also traditionally features a nationally renowned keynote speaker. This year’s speaker was a little different thanks to of one of the attorneys honored.
One of the attorneys honored this year was Charles Nauen who, among many other things, represents Democrats in high-profile recount proceedings. We’ve had more than our share. They’ve turned out poorly for Republicans in part because Charlie has contributed to the brains of the operation for the Democrats.
Yet Charlie made this year’s dinner memorable, if not unforgettable, for another reason. He asked the ladies and gentlemen running the event to invite Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras to give the keynote address, and Justice Stras accepted. After Justice Stras’s appointment to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Pawlenty in 2010, Charlie chaired Justice Stras’s 2012 election committee when the seat came up for election.
Justice Stras served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. He was teaching at the University of Minnesota Law School when Governor Pawlenty tapped him to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He has been an active member of the Federalist Society. He made it into the news this past May when Donald Trump included him on his first shortlist of possible Supreme Court appointees to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. Let it be!
Among Justice Stras’s current and former colleagues who turned out to hear him speak at the dinner this year were Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justices Christopher Dietzen (just retired), G. Barry Anderson, David Lillehaug, and Natalie Hudson as well as current federal district judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright, whom I wrote about about earlier this year here.
Justice Stras is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Walter Stras. He devoted his keynote address to lessons learned from his grandfather. I thought that some readers might be interested in what he had to say (video below, about 30 minutes). Justice Stras was introduced by Medica general counsel Jim Jacobson. The dinner took place on the evening of November 2, with game 7 of the World Series in progress. In his introduction Jim jokingly alludes to the game in progress.