BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner today submitted her notice of resignation to Gov. Doug Burgum, who thanked her for more than 18 years of exceptional service on the state’s highest court.
Justice Kapsner’s resignation becomes effective July 31, 2017.
“Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner has built an impeccable record of service to the State of North Dakota and the legal profession as a whole,” Burgum said. “In addition to being a brilliant attorney and jurist, she established herself as a leader in the local and state bar associations and a wonderful mentor to attorneys growing in their careers. We are deeply grateful for her significant contributions to our state’s legal system.”
A North Dakota native, Justice Kapsner grew up in Underwood and Bismarck and earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., in 1969. She studied at Oxford University and earned her master’s degree in English literature from Indiana University in 1971 and her law degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1977.
Justice Kapsner and her husband, John C. Kapsner, a lawyer, started their own law firm in 1977 and remained in private practice until 1998. In October 1998, then-Gov. Ed Schafer appointed Justice Kapsner to the North Dakota Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Herbert Meschke. Only the third woman in state history to serve on the Supreme Court, she was elected to 10-year terms on the bench in 2000 and 2010.
Justice Kapsner played an active role in the legal community throughout her career, serving as president of the Burleigh County Bar Association, as a member of the State Bar Association’s Board of Governors and Judicial Conference, and on the American Bar Association’s Standards Review Committee and Accreditation Committee. She previously chaired the Supreme Court’s Judicial Planning Committee and co-chaired its Commission to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts.
Burgum will appoint Justice Kapsner’s successor and will convene a judicial nominating committee to interview candidates for the job. Supreme Court justices are elected to 10-year terms. Justice Kapsner has three years remaining on her term.