ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton has elevated Appeals Judge Natalie Hudson to Minnesota's Supreme Court in a pick that maintains diversity in the top ranks of the judiciary.

The Democratic governor announced his selection Tuesday to fill the seat coming open because of Justice Alan Page's retirement.

Hudson, who like Page is black, has been a member of the Court of Appeals since her 2002 appointment by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura.

It is Dayton's third Supreme Court appointment. He has said that diversity among state judges is important to him.

Dayton interviewed three finalists forwarded to him by a special screening panel. All are women.

There are two women currently on the seven-member court, but Justice Wilhelmina Wright is awaiting confirmation to a federal judgeship and could depart soon.