The 11-county Northeast Judicial District will have a vacancy in one of its chambers next month.
Early last month District Judge John C. McClintock, Jr., who has presided over the Pierce County chamber in Rugby, or Judgeship No. 2 in district court for over 20 years, announced to Gov. Doug Burgum his retirement effective April 14. McClintock said he is retiring due to health issues, including multiple sclerosis and a 27-year battle with type 1 diabetes.
McClintock said he "enjoyed" serving as a district judge in Pierce County, but his health "needs to be put first now."
With chambers in Devils Lake, Bottineau, Rugby, Grafton and Cavalier, the Northeast Judicial District serves Benson, Bottineau, Cavalier, Towner, Pierce, Walsh, Ramsey, Renville, Pembina, McHenry and Rolette counties.
District judges are elected to six-year terms. When a vacancy occurs, under Chapter 27-05-02.1 of the N.D. Century Code the state Supreme Court must decide whether or not to fill it within 90 days of receiving a notice of vacancy from the governor and in consulting with judges and attorneys in the affected district.
If the court decides to fill the vacancy, a nominating committee puts together a list of names to the governor for consideration. The governor then appoints a candidate to fill the position.
The court can also decide to transfer the vacant office to a district in which an additional judge is necessary, or abolish the vacant office with or without a district judgeship transfer.
In a letter to the supreme court, district attorneys represented by Michael P. Hurly of the Traynor Law Firm said eliminating Judgeship No. 2 would "adversely affect the administration of justice in the entire District."
"It's important that we keep the chambers here," said Pierce County State's Attorney Galen Mack.