MINOT, N.D. — Why are so many judicial races in North Dakota not competitive? And not because the winning candidates dominate, but because they’re usually running unopposed?
Part of the problem is the pay, Justice Daniel Crothers said on this episode of Plain Talk. Crothers has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court since he was appointed in 2005. He ran for election to the unexpired four-year term he was appointed to fill, and for re-election to a new term in 2012, and now he’s running for another decade-long term on the 2022 ballot.
With history as our guide, he probably won’t have an opponent. Since 1990 there have been just five competitive Supreme Court races on the statewide ballot.
Crothers says that lawyers make a lot of money but judges, comparatively, do not. North Dakota already has a relatively small legal community, and finding people in that community who want to abandon their private practice — and its pay — to become a judge is difficult.
Crothers also talked about the ongoing efforts to get court records online, what it’s like to campaign for an office like Supreme Court Justice, and the process behind how the state Supreme Court works.
Also on this episode, co-host Chad Oban and I talk about the calls to pull the medical license of state Rep. Rick Becker. Becker works as a plastic surgeon outside of his political career, and some of his fellow doctors find his comments about COVID-19 and treatments for it to be unethical . They’re calling for him to either stop these statements or face discipline.
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