State Lawyer Misses Paul Sorum Lawsuit Hearing In Mixup


Last week I wrote a couple of times about a lawsuit filed by Paul Sorum, who ran for the NDGOP nomination for governor in 2012 and then ran on the statewide ballot as an independent when he lost, requesting that the courts throw out over 300,000 votes for the Republican and Democrat candidates and name him the victor.

Because the Republicans and Democrats listed their governor/lieutenant governor candidates on two separate forms instead of the same form as the law requires.

This morning there was to have been a hearing in the case, but apparently North Dakota Solicitor General Douglas Bahr didn’t show up.

“I can only assume he didn’t want to defend his opposition brief,” Sorum told me in a text message after the no-show. “The judge seemed ticked and said he will not take any more testimony from the AG’s office but they can appeal if they want to.”

I asked Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, what happened this morning and she provided the letter below sent by Bahr to Judge Donald Jorgensen pointing out that Sorum’s notice of hearing had the wrong time on it.

“I arrived at the Morton County Courthouse prior to 9:00 am today to attend the noticed hearing in the above-referenced matter. I waited in Courtroom 301 until approximately 9:15 am,” Bahr wrote in the letter. “When no one else arrived, I checked with court staff to see if the hearing had been rescheduled. At that time,I was informed that the hearing was held at 8:30 am.”

Bahr attached to his letter Sorum’s notice of hearing, which you can see here, and it does indeed set the hearing time at 9:00am.

“I apologize for any inconvenience to the court for me not being at the hearing at 8:30 am, but trust the Court understands my reliance on Mr. Sorum’s inaccurate notice,” Bahr wrote in the letter. “The State Respondents did not request a hearing in this matter, and do not believe a hearing is necessary. However, if Mr. Sorum continues to want a hearing, or if the Court feels the hearing would be beneficial, I request that Mr. Sorum schedule and properly notice the hearing. I also request, by copy of this letter, that Mr. Sorum have the common courtesy to contact me when scheduling the hearing to confirm that the date and time of the hearing does not conflict with my schedule.”

No word yet on whether or not another hearing will be scheduled, though it all seems moot. Sorum told me in what was a contentious radio interview on Friday that he didn’t really expect to win, but was instead just trying to shine a light on the grave injustice done by listing candidates on separate forms instead of the same form.

Jorgensen Ltr