Sterling Honor Graduate (top 10% of class)
Dean's List Fall 1988, Spring 1989, Fall 1989, Spring 1990
Production Editor, South Dakota Law Review, Volume 35
Comment Author, The Hypocrisy of South Dakota's Model Rule 1.6: A Call for Reform, 35 S.D. L. REV. 66 (1990)
Casenote Author, Associated Press vs. Bradshaw: The Right of Press Access Extended to Juvenile Proceedings in South Dakota, 34 S.D. L. REv. 738 (1989)
Recipient, Dean Marshall, Alice and Frances McKusick Law Scholarship, 1988-89, 1989-90
Recipient, First Bank of South Dakota Trusts and Wills Scholarship, 1989- 1990
Book Awards: Outstanding Scholastic Achievement (Spring 1990); American Jurisprudence Awards for highest grade in course: Constitutional Law (Fall 1988), Insurance (Spring 1989), First Amendment Rights (Spring 1989), Trusts & Wills (Spring 1989), Legal Profession (Spring 1989), Corporations (Spring 1990)
Classes covered topics including psychology, and sociology
As solicitor general, serve as chief appellate lawyer for the State of North Dakota, supervise state appellate civil litigation, monitor and make recommendations regarding amicus curiae brief requests
As Director of Civil Litigation Division, supervise civil litigation attorneys, paralegals, and special assistant attorneys general, draft legislation and provide legislative testimony,
As Chief civil litigator for the State of North Dakota, areas of practice include civil litigation, appellate practice, administrative law, state and federal constitutional law, and tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and escrow compliance enforcement.
Served in Civil Litigation Division, performing civil litigation, administrative law, appellate practice, constitutional law, and litigation for state professional licensing boards
Served in State & Local Government Division, acting as general counsel for state professional licensing boards, drafting attorney general opinions, drafting legislation and administrative rules and provide legislative testimony
North Dakota Supreme Court (Oct. 1991)
Supreme Court of the United States (Jan. 1999)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Jan. 1992)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Dec. 2007)
U.S . Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Dec. 2003)
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (Nov. 1991)
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Dec. 2003)
Chair, Ethics Committee, State Bar Association of North Dakota
President Elect, The Association of the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (former Treasurer, former Membership Chair)
Member, Big Muddy Bar Association
Former Member, Advisory Council to the Office of Administrative Hearings
Strengths you would bring to the Court
Due to my legal experience, I am uniquely qualified for consideration of appointment as a North Dakota Supreme Court justice. I have extensive appellate practice and writing experience, having served as North Dakota's Solicitor General for over fourteen years. I have argued before the North Dakota Supreme Court over sixty times, six times before the North Dakota Court of Appeals, and seven times before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. I have also written and filed numerous briefs in those courts and other state and federal courts. Through this broad appellate practice, I have developed exemplary research, writing, and analytical skills, and obtained expertise in many areas of the law. These skills and knowledge will be a great asset to me in researching and analyzing issues that come before the Supreme Court and in issuing thoughtful, well-written opinions.
My role as chief civil litigator for the State of North Dakota has provided me considerable experience in the areas of federal and state civil litigation. I have a sound knowledge of the court rules applicable to both civil and appellate practice in North Dakota. Through practice, I also have a solid understanding of the real life application of those rules. My litigation experience includes the type of civil litigation practiced by private practice attorneys and the type of civil litigation practiced only by experienced government attorneys. For example, like many private practice attorneys, I regularly handle tort, employment, civil rights, and contract cases, including personal injury, motor vehicle accident, wrongful death, harassment, negligent design and construction, false arrest and imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, discrimination, and wrongful termination cases. However, unlike most private practice attorneys, I also regularly handle cases involving state and federal constitutional law, statutory construction, governmental immunities, administrative law, prisoner litigation, and government benefits eligibility.
By way of a few examples, cases I briefed and argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Board of the North Dakota Supreme Court, the constitutionality of North Dakota's primary election minimum vote requirement (N.D.C.C. § 16.1-11-36), the constitutionality of North Dakota's Telephone Solicitations Act (N.D.C.C. ch. 51-28), and whether the University of North Dakota's elimination of its wrestling program violated Title IX. Cases I briefed and argued before the Supreme Court have addressed numerous state constitutional issues, such as the constitutionality of state economic development programs, the constitutionality of a legislative redistricting plan, whether the North Dakota Constitution permits recall of a United States Senator, election and initiative measure requirements, the delegation of legislative authority, separation of powers, the takings clause, and the Supreme Court's discretionary original jurisdiction. They also addressed federal constitutional issues, statutory construction, governmental immunities (including judicial, quasi-judicial, prosecutorial, witness, discretionary, and qualified immunity), administrative law issues, courts' personal and subject-matter jurisdiction, and numerous other issues. My knowledge and experience in both general and governmental civil litigation will bring a unique and beneficial blend of experience and knowledge to the Supreme Court.
Moreover, in addition to my federal and state civil litigation experience, I have significant administrative law experience. I have represented state agencies in numerous administrative hearings and appeals. Because of that experience, I have a sound understanding of the Administrative Agencies Practice Act, administrative rules and regulations, and judicial review of administrative appeals.
My position as the Director of the Civil Litigation Division has also provided me the opportunity to gain a general understanding of many areas of the law that I have not personally practiced. As the Director, I supervise and review the work of Assistant Attorneys General and Special Assistant Attorneys General. By doing so, I have gained a general understanding of the areas of the law in which they practice. As Solicitor General, I also handle the amicus curiae brief requests made to the Attorney General, approximately 75 requests each year. I recommend to the Attorney General whether to join the briefs. To make recommendations, I personally review many of the briefs, which expands my knowledge in numerous areas of the law.
Although I have not personally practiced criminal law, I have a sound understanding of the Constitution as it relates to criminal law. I have defended law enforcement officers, parole and probation officers, "and prison officials against civil rights claims based on the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. I also taught courses for law enforcement officers at the North Dakota Highway Patrol for two decades. Two of the three courses focused on Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment issues as they relate to law enforcement officers. There are, of course, areas of the law where I have little or no experience. For that I am grateful because learning new areas of the law is one of the joys of the practice. I regularly handle cases involving factual and legal issues of which I have had limited experience. Over the years, I have demonstrated the ability to quickly master the factual and legal issues, irrespective of their novelty or complexity. My ability to do so will greatly assist me as a justice in deciding cases involving areas of the law where I have limited experience.
In addition to my legal knowledge and abilities, I have excellent relationship skills and work effectively with others in both individual and group settings. My professional experiences range from working with large and diverse groups, such as legislative committees and state boards, to handling sensitive personnel matters in a one-on-one setting. I have had similar experiences through my years of nonprofessional volunteer work. Through these experiences I have learned to openly and objectively listen to others and consider their views, persuasively communicate my position, and assist the group in reaching a compromise when appropriate. My relationship skills and easygoing manner will help me work well with other members of the Supreme Court, court staff, the bar, and the public. I will bring to the bench excellent judicial temperament and an innate sense of justice.
Supreme Court Vacancy 2013 News
October 10, 2013