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Judge races could heat up because of higher pay

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – Fourteen North Dakota district judgeships will be up for election this year, as is one position on the state Supreme Court.

And the executive director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota says she expects a lot of interest in those judgeships.

Christine Hogan says that's because the 2001 Legislature increased salaries and benefits for judges -- by an average of 15 percent.

"The Legislature understands that we don't just want warm bodies applying for judgeships. We want the highest quality of lawyers that are practicing law in the area to be interested in those positions. They have to be willing to give up their practices to run for the office. To put their name in for nomination for the appointment -- or to run for the office -- requires a leap of faith on the part of the person going after that position."

Hogan says that was demonstrated in the recent judgeship opening in Fargo. Twenty lawyers applied for that position.