Mitchell Hamline professor Colette Routel is one of three women being recommended to be a judge in Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county.
The Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection recommends candidates to the governor, who ultimately makes the selection. In this case, the panel is making recommendations to fill the Fourth Judicial District seat made vacant when Judge Thomas Fraser retired. Professor Routel was recommended along with Julia Dayton Klein and Rachel Hughey. The seat will be chambered in Minneapolis.
Routel joined the Mitchell Hamline faculty in 2009 and is co-director of the school’s Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute. She has testified before Congress on Indian Country-related legislation and has written or co-written eight amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years, including a brief discussed recently during oral arguments in the case United States v. Cooley.
Another brief she co-wrote was cited in the 2020 McGirt decision, which had historic ramifications for tribal reservations. She is also working with Mitchell Hamline clinical students on a treaty rights case involving several Wisconsin tribes, which is currently pending in federal court.
Routel has litigated several cases in state and federal courts on behalf of Indian tribes and was appointed to a one-year team as an appellate judge for the White Earth Nation in 2015. She maintains an active pro bono practice in federal Indian law, wildlife law, wilderness law, and asylum law.
Routel has a Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.