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District Court judge Jon Jensen is the newest member of the North Dakota Supreme Court. Forum News Service file photo

Burgum appoints Grand Forks judge to Supreme Court

BISMARCK - Gov. Doug Burgum appointed a Grand Forks judge to fill an impending vacancy on the North Dakota Supreme Court Wednesday, July 12.

Burgum chose Jon Jensen, a judge in the Northeast Central Judicial District, to succeed Justice Carol Kapsner, who announced her resignation in April with three years left on her term. Her resignation is effective at the end of the month, marking more than 18 years on the court.

“Judge Jensen brings a wealth of private sector, public sector, legal and judicial experience,” Burgum said in a statement. “His intellect, temperament, listening ability and understanding of the law, along with an exemplary track record as a district judge, make him a terrific addition to our state’s highest court.”

Jensen will serve at least two years before the general election in 2020, when he would have to run for a new term. Supreme Court justices are elected to 10-year terms.

A nominating committee named Jensen and two others -- South Central District Judge James Hill and Northwest District Judge Robin Schmidt -- as finalists for the seat in June. Burgum interviewed the three candidates Tuesday afternoon, according to his schedule.

Jensen was chosen as the presiding judge in the Northeast Central Judicial District in 2013, according to a news release from Burgum’s office. The court has since eliminated a “significant case backlog through automating and streamlining court processes,” the governor’s office said.

Before being appointed a district judge by then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Jensen and his wife, Linda Bata, were partners in a Grand Forks law firm. He also practiced at Pearson Christensen in Grand Forks for 21 years.

Jensen earned his law degree with distinction from the University of North Dakota and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Minnesota State University in Mankato. He worked as a law clerk in 1990 for North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Ralph Erickstad.

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