Benjamen Johnson was sworn in Monday as a district court judge, the first judicial appointment by new Gov. Doug Burgum.
The 34-year-old former public defender fills the vacancy left by longtime Williams County Judge David Nelson, and it was Nelson’s help and encouragement that Johnson said was invaluable.
All five North Dakota Supreme Court justices attended the investiture ceremony, during which Johnson took his oath of office to officially sit on the bench in Williams County.
He is one of five judges in the Northwest Judicial District, which covers Divide, Williams and McKenzie counties.
Leslie Oliver of the governor’s office pointed out that Johnson is Burgum’s first appointee to the role of judge, and said that his diverse legal work earned him high praise from the governor.
“According to the governor you set the bar quite high,” she said. “The broad range of your legal experience will serve you very well on the bench.”
Johnson, of Tioga, ran a private practice, served as a public defender and was the city attorney for Tioga, Ross, Wildrose, Bowbells, Flaxton and Portal until Burgum announced his appointment to the bench last month.
Johnson is a 2008 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law.