II. Meandering into the Twentieth Century
. . .
C. Governor-Justice Burke
Governor John Burke himself, after an illustrious political career, became a justice of the Supreme Court:
Burke's dream was to be judge of the state's supreme court, but in 1906 he was selected by his brother Democrats to make the race for governor, and his former ambition was sublimated. The old-guard Republicans had overplayed their political hands at the Jamestown convention where the minority Republicans were ridden-over roughshod by the McKenzie machine, and that was the main reason that, with the announcement of "Honest John" for governor, the minority Republicans flocked over to him in such large numbers that he was elected. Burke's was a double triumph, because the state was overwhelmingly Republican. Further triumphs were on the way, because in 1908 and again in 1910 he was re-elected, thus establishing a new record in America, at that time, of being a Democratic governor for three successive terms in a strong Republican state.
As Governor, John Burke gave the people an honest and able administration, so when President Woodrow Wilson called him to the office of United States Treasurer, the appointment met with the universal approval of his many friends in North Dakota.(155)
Burke later returned to North Dakota to practice law and, in 1924, was elected to the position vacated by Justice Harrison A. Bronson (1918-1924), who left at the end of his term to become Counsel for the State Mill and Elevator.(156) Justice John Burke (1925-1937) died in office on May 14, 1937,(157) and P.O. Sathre was appointed to replace him.(158) Justice Sathre (1937-1938) was defeated for the position in the 1938 election by Justice John Burke's son, Justice Thomas J. Burke (1939-1966).(159)
155. Burdick, supra note 139, at 14.
156. See Sketch, supra note 2, at 41, 44. Bronson also went to a private practice, lectured at the University of North Dakota School of Law, and authored four books on property law. See Sketch, supra note 2, at 41.
157. See Sketch, supra note 2, at 44. Also see Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud, Notable North Dakotans 46-50 (1987) ("Mister Clean"), for another biographical sketch of Justice John Burke. Rolfsrud reported that a monument to Justice Burke was placed in Statuary Hall in the nation's Capitol at Washington, D.C.
158. See Sketch, supra note 2, at 48.
159. See Sketch, supra note 2, at 49.