The Democratic-NPL Party Statement on the North Dakota Supreme Court Decision in Oversen, et al. v. Jaeger
We agree with former Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, the longest-serving chief justice in the state’s history, in his dissent stating:
VandeWalle, Justice, dissenting.
I respectfully dissent. Section 16.1-11-18(6)(d), N.D.C.C., provides a vacancy can be filled if a candidate “[c]eases to be qualified to serve, if elected, as otherwise provided by law.” I believe the use of the term qualified in subdivision (6)(d) is ambiguous and a reasonable interpretation is that Martin was qualified when she was placed on the primary ballot by the Secretary of State. She subsequently ceased to be qualified when we determined she was not eligible to hold the office of insurance commissioner in our prior case. I would err on the side of placing a candidate’s name on the ballot when ambiguity exists in a statute. Therefore, I dissent.