Today there are more than 130 vacancies throughout our federal district and appellate courts, and many of these vacancies have become “judicial emergencies” – lasting longer than 18 months and having more than 500 judicial filings per panel.
Some senators refuse to give honest consideration to qualified judicial nominees, forcing their fellow Americans to be judged by courts that are badly overwhelmed. North Dakota is currently in a judicial emergency, with three nominees waiting to be confirmed.
Justice Ralph Erickson for U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota)
- Justice Erickson has proven himself a dedicated public servant for North Dakotans. Since 2003, Erickson has served as a Judge on the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, and has served as its Chief Judge since 2009.
- Erickson has served as State District Judge for the East Central Judicial District Court, North Dakota from 1995 to 2003, and previously as a County Judge in Cass, Traill, Steele, Nelson & Griggs Counties.
- Erickson was nominated on June 7, 2017 for a seat that has been vacant since April 22, 2015.
- Erickson’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee took place on July 25, 2017, and his confirmation is waiting for Senate approval.
Justice David R. Stras for U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Justice Stras is a Current Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, serving since 2010.
- Stras has been recommended by three Minnesota congressmen: Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer, and Jason Lewis.
- Stras clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
- Stras was nominated on May 8, 2017 for a seat that has been vacant since November 29, 2015.
Leonard S. “Steve” Grasz for U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Grasz has significant legal experience, having served as Nebraska’s Chief Deputy Attorney General from 1991-2002.
- Grasz has also argued cases before the country’s highest courts, serving as the Counsel of Record before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. He has also litigated before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Nebraska Supreme Court.
- Grasz has been praised by Nebraska Governor Steve Ricketts as “one of the top constitutional law lawyers in our state” who is “widely held in very high regard for his respect of the law and his thoughtful and fair-minded approach to issues”.
- Grasz was nominated on August 3, 2017 for a seat vacated on June 30, 2017. His hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Tell Senator Heitkamp to confirm these nominees now! North Dakotans deserve to have these vacant seats filled!
Call Senator Heitkamp at (701) 258-4648.