North Dakota’s highest court is the North Dakota Supreme Court. The court has four justices and one chief justice. The chief justice is chosen for a five-year term by other members of the supreme court along with district judges. (Source: State of North Dakota Courts)
North Dakota Supreme Court justices are selected through a nonpartisan election, where multiple candidates may vie for the seat. The elected justice serves a 10-year term. Justices may seek additional terms through nonpartisan elections. When a seat opens in the middle of a justice’s term, the governor appoints a candidate from a list provided by a judicial nominating commission. Alternatively, the governor may fill the seat by calling for a special election. An appointed justice holds office until North Dakota’s next general election more than two years after appointment, unless the remainder of the seat’s term runs out before then. The elected justice serves the remainder of the unexpired term. There are no term limits, nor is there a mandatory retirement age.
North Dakota’s first and only state constitution was adopted in 1889. As of January 1, 2022, it had 161 amendments. (Source: Council of State Governments)
The plaintiffs include 20 women who were denied abortion care and two doctors who say Texas’s abortion bans prevent them from meeting their ethical obligations.
State courts — and to some degree federal courts — play a significant role in every stage of the direct democracy process.
The state supreme court relied on a seldom-used state constitutional provision to upend a long-standing state legislative practice.
Courts are considering new foundations for abortion rights, while incremental challenges may slowly chip away at Dobbs.
The conservative court is being asked to revisit precedents protecting abortion rights.
Though advocates have found early success in federal courts, they may find even more effective ways to protect LGBTQ+ rights through state courts.