North Dakota has an open race for the state Supreme Court for the first time in 24 years, thanks to current Justice Dale Sandstrom announcing that he’s stepping down at the end of his current 10-year term.
That race was among several judicial races around the state included in a survey conducted by the State Bar Association of North Dakota. They asked their members to rank the judicial candidates on a variety of issues including competence, experience, temperament, and integrity and then combined those ratings into a single number.
In the Supreme Court race, Tufte put up a much higher number than Bolinske who actually scored the lowest out of all the candidates evaluated.
Bolinske is…something of a character. Back in March, in announcing his campaign for the state’s highest court, he said he was unimpressed with some of the judges in the state and that he’ll “jack them up” if elected.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]In the Supreme Court race, Tufte put up a much higher number than Bolinske who actually scored the lowest out of all the candidates evaluated.[/mks_pullquote]
“I’m just not that impressed with the quality of some of the judges, and if elected, it’s my intention to jack them up,” he told reporter Mike Nowatzki. “If they are lazy and they don’t do their jobs, they will read about it in my opinions.”
“I’m strong as a moose and twice as ornery,” the 72-year-old judge added.
Bolinske tried to run for the Supreme Court back in 2008, and actually sued the Secretary of State to let him on the ballot, but the court ultimately rejected his arguments. He also sued the State Fair Association in the 1990’s after they told him he couldn’t circulate petitions for an initiated measure on fair grounds without purchasing a booth. He lost that case too.
Meanwhile Tufte was just appointed by Governor Jack Dalrymple to a judgeship in the Southeast Judicial District last year.
He actually served as legal counsel and a senior policy adviser to Dalrymple starting in 2011 until his appointment to his current post. He has served in the North Dakota National Guard since 2008, and was the Kidder County State’s Attorney from 2005 to 2011 in addition to running a private law practice.
Tufte’s appointment to the Southeast Judicial District was part of Dalrymple’s record-setting 17 judicial appointments during his term in office. Record setting because that’s more judicial appointments than any other governor in state history.
Here are the full rankings from SBAND:
[scribd id=315363120 key=key-8rpSbhCRDGIv77sN9uuo mode=scroll]