Section 1. Authority and Policy.
In accordance with Article VI, Section 3, of the North Dakota Constitution, and consistent with Administrative Rule 2, the Supreme Court adopts this rule establishing the North Dakota Administrative Council.
Section 2. Administrative Council - Membership - Terms.
A. The Administrative Council consists of the Chief Justice, who serves as presiding officer of the Council; one justice of the Supreme Court elected by a vote of the justices; the presiding judge of each judicial district; one district judge from each administrative unit with more than one judicial district who is elected by vote of all district judges of the state; and one member of the State Bar Association appointed by the Chief Justice from a list of three names submitted by the Board of Governors of the State Bar Association of North Dakota.
B. Except for the Chief Justice and presiding judge members, of the members initially elected or appointed and as determined by lot at the first meeting, one member has a three-year term, two members have two-year terms, and two members have one-year terms. Thereafter, each complete term is three years. Each such member may be reelected or reappointed and, if not, serves until the member's successor takes office. In the event a member no longer serves as a justice of the Supreme Court, district judge, or lawyer member of the association, that member is ineligible for membership and a vacancy exists. Vacancies are filled in the same manner as the affected membership is filled. Except for the Chief Justice and the presiding judge of each judicial district, a member may not serve more than two successive terms. A member appointed or elected to an unexpired term less than one-half the duration of a regular term is eligible to serve two full successive terms.
C. Elections for the district judges from the administrative units shall be conducted by the State Court Administrator in a manner similar to Administrative Rule 2, subsection 4, with ballots due by July 20. Terms shall commence on August 1.
D. Each member is entitled to reimbursement at state rates for expenses incurred in attending Council meetings.
Section 3.Administrative Council Duties.
The Council, with the approval of the chief justice, shall:
A. Develop uniform administrative policies and procedures for the trial courts and juvenile courts and make recommendations for their implementation.
B. Review the biennial budget proposals submitted by the trial court administrators for the respective administrative units.
C. Review and approve for submission to the Supreme Court a proposed trial court component of the unified judicial system budget for each biennium.
D. Monitor trial court budget expenditures.
E. Perform other duties as directed by the Chief Justice.
Section 4. Administrative Council Operation.
A. A quorum of the Council is necessary for the Council to take any action. The affirmative vote of a majority of the Council's members present, and the approval of the Chief Justice, is required for final Council action. The Council shall meet at least quarterly.
B. Any proposed Judicial Branch administrative policy must be distributed to all trial court judges and affected personnel for comment. Comments must be received within 30 days after distribution of the proposal. If the proposal requires expedited action, the Council may provide for a shorter comment period or may adopt the policy on an emergency basis subject to comment and final action of the Council.
C. The Office of State Court Administrator serves as the secretariat for the Council and assists in arranging meetings, providing meeting minutes, distributing Council proposals for comment, and providing other assistance as required by the Council.
Section 5. Effective Date.
This rule is effective August 1, 2004, with the exception of Section 2.C., which is effective July 1, 2004.
Dated this 8th day of March, 2004.
Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice
William A. Neumann, Justice
Mary Muehlen Maring, Justice
Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justice
I dissent. The "judicial reorganization plan" reflected in these rule changes received extensive public comment. Almost all of those who commented, including the Board of Governors of the State Bar Association and most of the district judges, objected to the plan. Although some of the objections may have been met by changes to the plan, it appears most have not.
I would make implementation of the rule changes subject to approval of the North Dakota Judicial Conference.
Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice
Clerk of the Supreme Court
SOURCE: Council of Presiding Judges, Minutes of July 15, 1994; Administrative Reorganization of the Judicial System, Supreme Court No. 20030098.
[Adopted effective July 1, 1984; amended effective January 1, 1995; amended effective August 1, 2004 with the exception of Section 2.C., which is effective July 1, 2004.]