Whatever Happens in Court, District 8 Cannot Appoint Someone the Voters Rejected


MINOT, N.D. — The battle over District 8 is going to get its day in court.

Thursday, Gov. Doug Burgum asked the state Supreme Court to step in and rule on the legality of his appointment to a state House seat won by Dave Andahl, who died in early October.

If you haven’t been paying attention to this, three interests are competing to fill that seat.

Burgum believes Andahl’s death and subsequent election is an unprecedented situation not addressed by current law. Article V, Section 8 of the state constitution allows the governor to “fill a vacancy in any office by appointment if no other method is provided by this constitution or by law.”

State lawmakers say that it’s inappropriate for Burgum, the head of the state’s executive branch, to appoint members of the legislative branch. One could argue that our present legislative leadership has a selective appreciation for the separation of powers.

They’ve been happy to sit on their laurels during the COVID-19 outbreak, refusing to convene a special session and leaving Burgum to wield his executive powers with no legislative scrutiny, but I digress.

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