|In the Matter of the Consultations Under N.D.C.C. Section 27-05-02.1 Regarding Judgeship Nos. 6 and 7 in the Northeast Judicial District; Judgeship No. 2 in the Northeast Central Judicial District; Judgeship Nos. 6, 7, and 8 in the Northwest Judicial District; Judgeship Nos. 4 and 9 in the South Central Judicial District, and Judgeship Nos. 1, 3, and 5 in the Southwest Judicial District||NOTICE OF CONSULTATION|
Supreme Court No. 990224
[¶1] On January 1, 1991, there were 27 district court and 26 county court judgeships in the state. The 1991 North Dakota Legislative Assembly abolished the county court and office of county judge in all counties effective January 1, 1995, and established 53 district court judgeships. See N.D.C.C. §27-05-00.1.
[¶2] The 1991 Legislative Assembly also required the Supreme Court to reduce the number of district judges to 42 before January 2, 2001, and established the procedure to accomplish the required reduction. See N.D.C.C. §27-05-01(2) and §27-05-02.1. Under this legislation, the Supreme Court abolished three district court judgeships prior to January 1, 1994, leaving 50 judgeships designated in the state's seven judicial districts.
[¶3] To date, this Court has, through attrition, reduced the number of district court judgeships in the state to 43; however, there is no impending resignation or retirement of any currently sitting district court judge, and the deadline to implement the procedure leading to the last required reduction is imminent. The Court, therefore, for the first time, finds it necessary to exercise the authority conferred on it under N.D.C.C. §27-05-02.1(2) and (3). These sections specify that if on July 1, 1999, the number of district court judges is more than 42, this Court may, after consultation with district court judges and attorneys in the affected judicial district, abolish an office of district court judge if the Court determines the office is not necessary for effective judicial administration and abolition of the office is necessary to reduce the number of district court judges as required. N.D.C.C. § 27-05-02.1(2) further requires this Court to notify the affected judicial district and district court judge holding that office, at least one year before the end of the term of office of the district court judge, that the judgeship will be abolished at the end of the term of office.
[¶4] The terms of office for 12 of the 43 designated district court judgeships will expire December 31, 2000. These judgeships are: Judgeship Nos. 6 and 7 in the Northeast Judicial District; Judgeship No. 2 in the Northeast Central Judicial District; Judgeship Nos. 6, 7, and 8 in the Northwest Judicial District; Judgeship Nos. 4 and 9 in the South Central Judicial District; Judgeship No. 8 in the Southeast Judicial District; and Judgeship Nos. 1, 3, and 5 in the Southwest Judicial District. The Court finds it necessary to schedule consultations with the attorneys and judges in all these judicial districts, except the Southeast Judicial District. In light of this Court's recent decision to fill the vacancy in Judgeship No. 9 of the Southeast Judicial District, the Court finds a consultation concerning that district unnecessary.
[¶5] Separate consultations with each of the five districts identified in the preceding paragraph will be held in Bismarck, in the Prairie Room (former Supreme Court chamber), on the second floor of the State Capitol, and limited to 60 minutes. At least 10 days prior to the scheduled consultation, each judicial district must file a report with the Clerk of the Supreme Court addressing the criteria identified in section 4 of N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 7.2. While not compelled to appear at the consultation, the presiding judge of the district, or designee; those judges of the district whose terms expire in 2000; the president of the district bar association, or designee; and, if desired, a representative of the state bar will be given the opportunity to present information to the Court first. If time permits, other attorneys and judges will be given an opportunity to present additional information. Written comments from members of the bench, bar, and public will be accepted through Friday, September 24, 1999. Comments must be addressed to Penny Miller, Clerk of the Supreme Court, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 180, Bismarck, ND 58505-0530.
[¶6] After all consultations are held, the Court will confer, issue a written decision, and notify the appropriate persons.
[¶7] The schedule for the judicial district consultations is:
|Friday, September 10, 1999:||1:00 p.m. - Southwest Judicial District|
2:30 p.m. - South Central Judicial District
4:00 p.m. - Northeast Central Judicial District;
|Tuesday, September 21, 1999:||4:00 p.m., Northwest Judicial District; and|
|Wednesday, September 22, 1999:||4:00 p.m., Northeast Judicial District.|
[¶8] The Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota convened this 28th day of July, 1999, with the Honorable Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice, and the Honorable William A. Neumann, the Honorable Dale V. Sandstrom, the Honorable Mary Muehlen Maring, the Honorable Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justices, directing the Clerk of the Supreme Court to enter the above order.
|[¶9]||Penny Miller, Clerk|
North Dakota Supreme Court