North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom announced today that he will not seek reelection next year. Justice Sandstrom, who is one of North Dakota's longest-serving elected state officials, said he will step down December 31, 2016, after serving on the state Supreme Court for 24 years. Justice Sandstrom served on the Public Service Commission before he was elected to the Supreme Court and will have served more than 33 years in elective state office.
Because of Justice Sandstrom's retirement, there will be an open seat on the ballot for the Supreme Court for the first time in 24 years.
Justice Sandstrom said, "I appreciate the great honor of serving the people of North Dakota. It's a little hard to believe that I have served in elected public office for more than a quarter of our history as a State." He said that after he leaves office, he plans to write a couple books about the State's history, and to be more involved in volunteer activities.
Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle said, “Justice Sandstrom’s keen intellect, inquiring mind and exemplary work ethic make him a valued member and colleague. Through his written opinions and as chair of the Joint Procedure Committee for a number of years, he has made significant contributions to the jurisprudence of our State.”
Throughout his term, Justice Sandstrom has been the driving force in using technology to make the state judicial system open and accessible to the public. In 1996, he created the Court's award-winning website. In 2011, North Dakota became the first state in the nation to have its entire trial court system on an electronic record system. Nearly 4,000 individuals receive Justice Sandstrom's daily email updates from the Court.
Chief Justice VandeWalle said, “The Court, the Judicial Branch, the Bar and the entire State of North Dakota for that matter are indebted to Justice Sandstrom for his work in improving access to justice in North Dakota.”
Justice Sandstrom took office as Justice of the Supreme Court on December 31, 1992. He was reelected to ten-year terms in 1996 and 2006. He chairs the Joint Procedure Committee and the North Dakota Advisory Commission on Electronic Media in the Courtroom and is a member of the Joint Committee on Attorney Standards. He has chaired the Court Technology Committee, the North Dakota Judicial Conference, and the North Dakota Judges Association.
Justice Sandstrom started in the State Capitol more than 40 years ago as Assistant Attorney General and served in Governor Allen Olson's Cabinet as State Securities Commissioner.
Chief Justice VandeWalle said, “Personally, it has been my good fortune to work with Dale for a number of years, first as a colleague on the staff of the Attorney General and for the last 23 years as a member of the Supreme Court. I respect his decision to leave the Court at the end of his term but I will miss his presence and his wise counsel when he does leave. I wish him well in the next chapter of his illustrious career.”
Justice Sandstrom is married to District Judge Gail Hagerty. They have three children.