Investiture ceremony held for N.D. Supreme Court Justice Jon J. Jensen

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 4:30pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today celebrated the newest member of the North Dakota Supreme Court during a formal investiture ceremony to install Justice Jon J. Jensen.

“With his exemplary track record as a district judge and his experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as his intellect, temperament and ability to listen, Justice Jensen is a terrific addition to our state’s highest court,” Burgum said. “He is highly regarded and respected by his peers and will serve the citizens of North Dakota with utmost fairness and integrity. We are grateful for his willingness to serve and assume this awesome responsibility.”

Burgum appointed Jensen to the Supreme Court effective Aug. 15, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Carol Kapsner.

Jensen was appointed to a judgeship in the Northeast Central Judicial District in 2013 by then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple. Prior to that, he and his wife, Linda Bata, were partners in a Grand Forks law firm, where they focused on taxation law, business law and estate planning.

Joining Jensen for today’s investiture at the State Capitol were friends and family members, current and former Supreme Court justices, district court judges and dozens of colleagues from the legal community.

“Thank you to Governor Burgum for this appointment. I will do my best to make sure this is one of the many things you will look back on and be pleased you accomplished as governor,” Jensen said. “Twenty-seven years ago, in this room, I swore an oath as a new attorney. That same year I worked as a law clerk for the North Dakota Supreme Court. Today I got to recite an oath to serve as a Justice, and I am excited to return to the Court. It is truly an honor.”

During the ceremony, Burgum also acknowledged Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle as the longest-serving justice in state history, having last week surpassed the record of 39 years, 1 month set in 1954 by the Honorable Adolph Christianson. Burgum presented VandeWalle with an engraved gavel as a token of appreciation on behalf of all North Dakotans.

“As we celebrate a new justice on the Supreme Court, it’s an honor to recognize Chief Justice VandeWalle’s leadership and contributions he has made and continues to make, setting the standard for service to North Dakota’s justice system,” Burgum said. 

Jensen was born in Grand Forks and grew up in North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. He earned his law degree with distinction from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Minnesota State University Mankato in 1987. He also has served as a special assistant to the North Dakota Attorney General.

Jensen will serve on the Supreme Court until at least the November 2020 general election, when he will be eligible to run for a 10-year term pursuant to the North Dakota Constitution.