United States District Court for the District of North Dakota

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District of North Dakota
Eighth Circuit
District of North Dakota-seal.png
Judges: 2
Posts: 2
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Ralph Erickson
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Karen Klein
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota is one of ninety-four United States district courts. The court is headquartered in Fargo and has additional locations at Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot. The district was created in 1889, when the Dakota Territory was divided into North Dakota and South Dakota. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown St. Louis at the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse and Building.

The United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Timothy Q. Purdon.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has zero vacancies among their two posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Daniel Hovland1954Moorhead, MNW. Bush 11/26/2002 - Present2002 - 2009Patrick ConmyConcordia College, B.A., 1976University of North Dakota School of Law, J.D., 1979
Chief judge Ralph Erickson1959Thief River Falls, MNW. Bush 3/14/2003 - Present2009 - PresentRodney WebbJamestown College, B.A., 1980University of North Dakota, J.D., 1984

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Patrick ConmyReagan 12/17/1985-5/5/20001985-19925/5/2000-PresentHarvard College, 1955Georgetown University Law Center, 1959

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Charles Miller (North Dakota)09/2004-2020University of North Dakota, 1976
Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal11/15/1990-10/1/2022North Dakota State University, 1977University of Minnesota Law, 1984


The Counties of North Dakota (click for larger map)

The jurisdiction of the District of North Dakota consists of all the counties in the state of North Dakota. The District of North Dakota has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The court is headquartered out of Fargo and has additional locations at Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time (Criminal)**:Median time (Civil)**:Three-year civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 5959081503735 7687.29.019 (6.2%)023
2012 4377301167565 6026.39.319 (6.9%)020
2011 4206681088643 4456.59.715 (7.2%)020
2010 3866321018592 4265.78.913 (6.4%)026
2009 388601989581 4085.410.19 (4.8%)016
2008 4285801008618 3906.97.512 (6.5%)020
20073405448845063786.510.64 (2%)012
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.

**Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.

##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see District of North Dakota-Justia.com-Dockets and Filings.


The District of North Dakota was established by Congress and assigned to the Eighth Circuit on April 26, 1890 with one post to cover the entire state. Over time, one additional judicial post was added for a total of 2 current posts.[4]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of North Dakota:[4]

Year Statute Total Seats
April 26, 1890 26 Stat. 67 1
June 25, 1921 42 Stat. 66 2(1 temporary)
1928 Temporary post expired 1
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 2

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[5][6]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the District of North Dakota, see former federal judges of the District of North Dakota.

Federal courthouse

Four separate courthouses serve the District of North Dakota.

See also

External links