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Douglas Kenneth Amdahl Edit Profile

State supreme court justice

Douglas Kenneth Amdahl was state supreme court justice. Bar: Minnesota 1951, Federal District Court 1952.


Amdahl, Douglas Kenneth was born on January 23, 1919 in Mabel, Minnesota, United States.


Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Minnesota, 1945;Juris Doctor summa cum laude, William Mitchell College Law, 1951;L.L.D. (honorary), William Mitchell College Law, 1987.


He served as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from December 1981 to January 1989. Amdahl was raised in the small town of Mabel in southeastern Minnesota. Amdahl served in World War II in the Army's Signals Intelligence Service as a cryptologist within the European theatre.

He served as a judge in Hennepin County from 1961 to 1980. While chief justice, Amdahl was a leader in establishing the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which was created in 1983. Prior to that, if a person believed a district judge erred in a ruling, the only avenue for appeal was the state supreme court.

With a three-year backlog of cases at the time, the creation of the appeals court enabled a quicker resolution to cases and provided additional oversight in the judicial process. Amdahl sponsored the construction of the Hennepin County government center located in downtown Minneapolis. As a Hennepin County chief judge, he cut the ribbon, recommended the design of the judicial chambers, and tirelessly campaigned for funding.

He also pushed for a new building on the Minnesota Capitol mall to be dedicated to the judicial branch. Once the appeals court was established, it needed a place to work and hear cases. At the time, the supreme court worked in the east wing of the state capitol, but there was no room for additional offices or chambers for the appeals court.

The Minnesota Judicial Center was completed in 1992. Amdahl also taught at William Mitchell College of Law (where he graduated summa cum laude) and served on its board of trustees. Amdahl is also related to Gene Amdahl.

Amdahl died on August 24, 2010 at the age of 91.


  • Bar: Minnesota 1951, Federal District Court 1952.


Member American Bar Association (chairman committee on standards of judicial administration 1987-1996), Minnesota Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, International Academy Trial Judges, State District Court Judges Association (president 1976-1977), Conference of Chief Judges (board directors 1987-1988), Delta Theta Phi (associate justice supreme court).