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Janell Cole, Published January 07 2009

ND chief justice wants two new judgeships, study of elder issues

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Supreme Court will set up a task force on racial and ethnic fairness in the state court system and is asking the Legislature to create a study of elder issues.

In his State of the Judiciary address this afternoon, Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle also asked the Legislature to create two new district judgeships, one in the Southeast Judicial District and the other in the Northwest Judicial District.

The Southeast district consists of 10 counties – Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, Sergeant, Stutsman and Wells.

The Northwest district is Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail, Ward and Williams, the heart of North Dakota’s oil boom.

The chief justice said the Supreme Court is running out of space. He asked lawmakers to approve a space needs analysis. He said that when the Judicial Wing was built 25 years ago in the Capitol, the small area of the addition assigned to the courts was meant to be a 10- to 15-year solution.