Add another open election to North Dakota’s statewide ballot. In addition to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Insurance Commissioner and State Auditor races we now have an incumbent deciding not to run for the state Supreme Court.
Justice Dale Sandstrom, who has served on the court for 24 years, has announced that he’s not running for another term. Before that he served on the state Public Service Commission for nine years. “Because of Justice Sandstrom’s retirement, there will be an open seat on the ballot for the Supreme Court for the first time in 24 years,” Sandstrom’s press release states.
You can read the full release below.
Sandstom serving out his term will deny Governor Jack Dalrymple the opportunity to add to his already record-setting number of judicial appointments. Over the holiday break the Associated Press reported that Dalrymple has appointed 17 judges during his time in office, a total including one third of the state’s current judiciary and more than any other governor in the history of the state.
Seven of those appointments were to new judicial positions created by the Legislature to meet with the state’s growing population and judiciary needs. One of the appointments was to the state Supreme Court as well. Lisa Fair McEvers (best judge name ever) was appointed by Dalrymple in 2013 to finish out the term of Justice Mary Maring who stepped down.
McEvers, also, will be on the 2016 ballot to have her appointment confirmed by the voters.
Sandstrom is actually the only current member of the state Supreme Court to have obtained his position first by election instead of appointment. Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle was appointed by Governor Art Link in 1978. Carol Ronning Kapsner was appointed by Governor Ed Schafer in 1998. Daniel Crothers was appointed by Governor John Hoeven in 2005.
The justices serve 10 year terms and are elected on a non-partisan ballot.