Klobuchar, Smith Statements on Confirmation of Jerry Blackwell to be U.S. District Court Judge

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) issued the following statements after the Senate confirmed Jerry Blackwell to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota. Blackwell has more than three decades of legal experience and was highly recommended  by the judicial selection committee Senators Klobuchar and Smith convened to assist them in providing a recommendation to President Biden.

“Jerry Blackwell is one of the most widely respected and accomplished members of the Minnesota legal community. With nearly 35 years of trial practice– including the successful prosecution of the murder of George Floyd – I’m confident he has the qualifications and experience needed to be an excellent U.S. District Court Judge,” said Klobuchar. “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I fought to advance his nomination through the Senate, and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this outstanding nominee.”

“Jerry Blackwell’s confirmation is an exciting event for Minnesota,” said Smith.“His dedication to equal justice and distinguished record as an attorney and leader in Minnesota’s legal community make him exceptionally well-qualified for this position, and I congratulate him on his confirmation.”

Blackwell was appointed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General during the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Since 2005, he has also worked as a founding partner of Blackwell Burke P.A., where he has litigated numerous complex litigation cases in federal and state courts in 47 states. Blackwell is active in the Minnesota legal community as the founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and the Twin Cities Committee on Minority Lawyers in Large Law Firms. He received his B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984, where he was a Morehead Scholar, and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987. 

Jerry Blackwell was among three well-qualified candidates recommended by the judicial selection committee, which included Alan Page, former Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Assistant Attorney General; Leslie Beiers, Assistant Chief Judge of the Minnesota Sixth Judicial District and former Assistant St. Louis County Attorney; Arielle Wagner, Associate at Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP and President of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association; Miguel Pozo, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Compliance Officer of Minnesota Community Care, and former President of the Hispanic National Bar Association; and Peter Knapp, Professor and former interim president and dean at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.