Rosalie Wahl

Mitchell to fly flags at half-staff in honor of Justice Rosalie Wahl ’67

In honor of Justice Rosalie Wahl, one of William Mitchell’s most distinguished graduates, the law school will join the state of Minnesota and fly its flags at half-staff from sunrise until sunset Saturday, Sept. 21. 

Rosalie Wahl

Rosalie Wahl

Justice Wahl, who passed away July 22, 2013, was the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court, a champion of equality, and a remarkable jurist.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the Saturday Rosalie Wahl Day and ordered all state and U.S. flags to be lowered to honor her life and career of public service.

Justice Wahl enrolled at William Mitchell in 1962 at the age of 38. She had four children at the time; her fifth was born during law school, where she was one of only two women in her class. After graduating in 1967, she worked for the state as an assistant public defender and in 1973 accepted a professorship at William Mitchell, where she directed the clinical legal education program.

Gov. Rudy Perpich appointed Justice Wahl to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1977, making her the first woman to sit on the state’s highest court. A couple of years into her tenure, she was mentioned as a possible candidate to become the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. While on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Justice Wahl served as its liaison to the Court’s Study Commission on the Mentally Disabled and chaired its task forces on gender fairness and racial bias. She remained on the court until she retired in 1994 at the mandatory age of 70.

A public memorial service will be held on September 21, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at Central Lutheran Church, 333 South 12th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (downtown Minneapolis). Parking is available on the south side of the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Southern Law Poverty Center, the William Mitchell College of Law Rosalie Wahl Law Clinic Fund, or to a charity of your choice.