Judge Philip Bush was appointed to the Hennepin County District Court Bench by Governor Rudy Perpich in 1989 through a merit selection process. He was re-elected in three subsequent elections, so he was surprised to find that he was being challenged for re-election in 2008. Judge Bush was even more surprised to find that his opponent appears to be targeting him randomly, without any specific rationale.
In his 19 years on the bench, Judge Bush has presided over thousands of criminal, civil and juvenile court matters. He served as Presiding Judge for the Hennepin County Juvenile court, the largest juvenile court in the state. He is respected by colleagues for his expertise in criminal justice matters, his problem solving skills and his even handed demeanor. In a recent Hennepin County Bar Association poll the participants gave Judge Philip Bush 97% support for reelection. This is the highest percentage of support that any judge has received in the 24 year history of the Bar Association poll.
His challenger, Alan Eugene Link has done almost nothing since filing for the race. He has not established a campaign committee nor has he responded to requests for information from the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Lawyer or the StarTribune. As far as can be determined, Mr. Link is a real estate lawyer with no significant courtroom experience. It has been reported that he chose to run against Judge Bush solely because of the incumbent judge’s “politically unpopular” last name. In responding to the need to campaign for re-election, Judge Bush has concentrated on the importance of voter education so that the electorate can make informed decisions at the ballot box.
During his nearly two decades on the bench, Judge Bush has worked to improve our judicial system. His initiative and creativity were critical to the development of Minnesota’s Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction law. This reform has been widely praised as a fair balance of increased public safety and rehabilitation for serious juvenile offenders. In addition, he regularly shares his experience as a mentor for new judges and as a faculty member of the Minnesota Judicial College. He is a thoughtful, hard-working and intelligent trial court judge.
Before becoming a District Court Judge, Philip Bush worked as a trial attorney in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. Judge Bush is a 1980 cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. In 1977 he earned a Master of Arts in Criminological Studies from the University of Sheffield, England and in 1975 he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota. Judge Bush was born in 1951 in Minneapolis, MN and is married with two adult sons.
Maury Landsman is a former law professor and co-chair of the Judge Philip Bush Re-election Committee.