Chief Justice Watching Caseload - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Chief Justice Watching Caseload

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The man at the helm of the state's supreme court says he'll be watching closely over the next year to see if there are enough judges now assigned to western North Dakota.

Justice Gerald VandeWalle's job includes seeking funding for the court system from the state legislature.

The last session approved funding for two new judgeships in western North Dakota to deal with the increased caseload from the population boom related to the oil industry's growth.

New judges have been assigned to Williston and Watford City.

But does the state need even more judges?

The chief justice, visiting Minot to speak with the local Kiwanis Club this week, says he'll see how the situation plays out in the coming months.

(Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, ND Supreme Court) "I think for now we'll see what happens. I've fairly conservative in what I ask for. We use a weighted caseload study, which is a tool put out by the National Center for State Courts, it's not exactly precise but it's a good tool and it says we need more but I want to wait and see what gives, what happens."

VandeWalle has been on the State Supreme Court since 1978 and has been chief justice for 20 years.

His term ends next year and he has said he'll decide by the end of this year whether or not to seek another term on the court.

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