- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A committee screening candidates for a state judgeship based in Bismarck is starting the process over after making a mistake.

The Judicial Nominating Committee said it erred when it sent the names of two finalists to Gov. Jack Dalrymple earlier this month because one of the finalists held an office with a political party at the time he applied. That violates North Dakota’s judicial conduct rules, which prohibit judges and judicial candidates from a variety of political activities.

The committee took responsibility for the oversight, saying Mandan attorney Brian Grosinger properly disclosed the fact that he was a Republican district vice chairman.

“The committee missed it, plain and simple,” State Bar Association Executive Director Tony Weiler told The Bismarck Tribune. Weiler is secretary of the nominating committee.

Grosinger and Bismarck attorney Steven Balaban had been named finalists. Dalrymple has now reconvened the nominating committee to forward a new list of finalists to replace South Central District Judge Donald Jorgensen, who plans to retire on July 3.

The committee has until late July to recommend new finalists. When Dalrymple gets the names he will have a month to make an appointment, ask for another list or call for an election.

“We understand that, regrettably, this will lengthen the selection process for the South Central Judicial District, which is in immediate need of its full complement of judges,” committee Chairman Duane Houdek said in a letter to Dalrymple. “But we believe the circumstances demand that we do so.”

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