Last Thursday, October 26, more than 100 esteemed members of the Minnesota judicial community, along with other officers of the courts, gathered on the 23rd floor of the Hennepin County Government Center to celebrate the retirement of Judge Tanya Bransford.
The event was hosted by the Honorable Judge Lyonel Norris with presentations from several colleagues. There were at least three Supreme Court justices in attendance to give praise to Judge Bransford.
Judge Mark Kappelhoff said that Bransford, a senior juvenile court judge, had an “amazing and legendary career.” He continued, “She was the first Black woman to serve as a district referee in Hennepin County Juvenile Court. The first Black woman to serve as a workers compensation judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings.”
He went on to describe Judge Bransford as “someone who is passionate about justice and fairness and improving the justice system. A mentor to so many judges, clerks, and many others.”
During the presentations, Judge Bransford received numerous gifts, awards, and proclamations. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Paris Yarbrough revealed that a team had conspired to obtain one of Bransford’s robes to redesign with Kente cloth that was presented to her that afternoon.
The skyway was filled with laughter, admiration, and respect for the Honorable Judge Bransford.
Justice Gordon Moore put Judge Bransford’s career and service to the community in perspective: “She’s been a lawyer since 1983. That means 40 years in law; 13,278 days served as a judicial officer; 10,709 days as a district court judge.
“That’s 36 years as a judicial officer and 29 years on the judicial bench. No one comes close to her. Judge Tanya Bransford is by far the most senior on our bench in the state of Minnesota.”