- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Carol Ronning Kapsner, who was sworn in as North Dakota’s third female Supreme Court justice in 1998, announced Tuesday that she will retire from the state’s highest bench at the end of July with about three years remaining on her 10-year term.

Kapsner, 69, hand delivered her letter of resignation to Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday. She gave no reason for her early retirement in her letter but said it has been a “great privilege to serve.”

She did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.

Burgum, in a statement, called Kapsner a brilliant attorney and jurist.” He said she “has built an impeccable record of service to the state of North Dakota and the legal profession as a whole.”

Former Republican Gov. Ed Schafer appointed Kapsner in 1998. She succeeded Herbert Meschke, who retired.

She was elected to 10-year terms in 2000 and 2010.

Burgum will appoint Kapsner’s successor and will convene a judicial nominating committee to interview candidates for the job.

Under state law, the person appointed to the judgeship would serve until the 2018 general election and, if elected, the remainder of Kapsner’s unexpired term.

Kapsner is a native of Bismarck and graduate of Bismarck St. Mary’s High School. She holds a master’s degree in English literature in addition to her law degree.

Before she was picked to the state's highest court, Kapsner was a private attorney in Bismarck for more than 20 years. She handled commercial and corporate law, employment discrimination, real estate and family law cases.

She represented Schafer when the former governor was having financial difficulties with Fish ‘N Dakota, a fish farming business near Beulah that he later sold.

The court’s other justices are Daniel Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Jerod Tufte and Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle.

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