North Dakota Supreme Court Decisions

The North Dakota Supreme Court began its history as the Supreme Court of the Dakota Territory in 1861. The size of the court varied between three and eight justices until the adoption of the North Dakota Constitution in 1889. While the Constitution initially set the size of the Court at three justices, a constitutional amendment in 1908 increased it to five justices, which is the size that it remains today. Each justice serves a 10-year term, as provided by a constitutional amendment in 1930.

Under the North Dakota Constitution, the Supreme Court holds general appellate jurisdiction as well as the authority to issue any writs that are needed to exercise its jurisdiction. It also holds the authority to form a three-member panel, known as a Court of Appeals, to hear cases that the Supreme Court assigns to it when the need arises. The Supreme Court chooses the members of the Court of Appeals from retired Supreme Court justices, current or retired lower court judges, and lawyers. A study by Stanford University in 2012 found that the Court is the second-most conservative state supreme court in the U.S.

To serve on the North Dakota Supreme Court, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of North Dakota. They also must be “learned in the law.” Candidates run for seats on the Court in non-partisan elections. This means that voters do not see the political affiliation of a candidate on the ballot. Elections are staggered so that one judge is elected every two years. However, if a vacancy arises, the Governor of North Dakota has the authority to appoint a replacement justice. This justice will serve for up to two years until the general election, in which they can run to retain their seat. The justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court and the District Court judges vote to elect the Chief Justice every five years, or when a vacancy arises.

Browse Opinions From the North Dakota Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the North Dakota Supreme Court
Atkins v. State
Date: June 24, 2021
Citations: 2020 ND 269, 2021 ND 112
Docket Number: 20200077
Johnshoy v. Johnshoy  
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 108
Docket Number: 20200263

Justia Opinion Summary: Amanda Johnshoy, now known as Amanda Fry, appealed a district court order denying her motion to modify primary residential responsibility. Fry and Zachary Johnshoy divorced in November 2014, and the court awarded Johnsho...

State v. Gedrose
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 111
Docket Number: 20200277
North Dakota v. Van Der Heever
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 116
Docket Number: 20200309
Abdi v. North Dakota  
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 110
Docket Number: 20200341

Justia Opinion Summary: Bashir Bare Abdi appealed a district court order denying his application for post-conviction relief, seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. Abdi was charged with luring minors in violation of N.D.C.C. 12.1-20- 05.1, a clas...

North Dakota v. Schweitzer  
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 109
Docket Number: 20200348

Justia Opinion Summary: Brandon Schweitzer appealed from a jury verdict and a criminal judgment convicting him of aggravated assault. In 2019, Schweitzer used his cane to hit the victim's arm, fracturing it. Schweitzer argued that by misplacing...

Comes v. State
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 107
Docket Number: 20210005
Thompson v. State
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 114
Docket Number: 20210038
Interest of K.B.
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 106
Docket Number: 20210109
Interest of K.C.
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 115
Docket Number: 20210122
Interest of C.G.
Date: June 24, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 113
Docket Numbers: 20210132, 20210133
Pennington, et al. v. Continental Resources  
Date: June 10, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 105
Docket Number: 20200318

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs Rhonda Pennington, Steven Nelson, Donald Nelson, and Charlene Bjornson appealed a judgment entered after the district court determined their oil and gas leases with Continental Resources had not expired and re...

Guardianship and Conservatorship of S.M.H.  
Date: June 3, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 104
Docket Number: 20200239

Justia Opinion Summary: K.S. appealed a district court order approving the sale of S.M.H.’s interest in real property and striking from the court record an affidavit filed by K.S. K.S. argued the court erred by determining that a document K.S....

North Dakota v. Black  
Date: June 3, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 103
Docket Number: 20200256

Justia Opinion Summary: James Black appealed following his conditional guilty plea to ten counts of possession of certain materials prohibited, class C felonies. Black argued the district court was required to suppress evidence obtained during...

Tesoro Great Plains Gathering & Marketing v. Mountain Peak Builders  
Date: June 3, 2021
Citation: 2021 ND 95
Docket Number: 20200260

Justia Opinion Summary: Tesoro Great Plains Gathering & Marketing, LLC, formerly known as Great Northern Gathering & Marketing, LLC (“Great Northern”), appealed an amended judgment entered after the district court ordered a pipeline lien held b...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.