Forum editorial: A bouquet to chief justice
PRAIRIE ROSES: To North Dakota's top jurist, Gerald VandeWalle, for his receipt last week of North Dakota's highest citizen honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award. VandeWalle is chief justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court and is the ...
PRAIRIE ROSES: To North Dakota’s top jurist, Gerald VandeWalle, for his receipt last week of North Dakota’s highest citizen honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award. VandeWalle is chief justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court and is the longest-service state chief justice in the nation. His tenure since 1978 when he was appointed to the court, and since 1993 when he became chief justice, is the story of the progress of the courts in the state. He has been a champion for the courts during all that time, and was again last week when he urged legislators to add more judges and put more resources into the burdened court system. The Rough Rider Award is in keeping with honoring the state’s most accomplished residents. The addition of Justice VandeWalle to the pantheon of past winners fits nicely with the spirit and meaning of the award.
LEAFY SPURGE: To the U.S. Forest Service, owners of mineral rights, and anyone else who is complicit in allowing construction of a 19-acre gravel pit on the historic Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora, N.D. The ranch, which was established by Theodore Roosevelt more than 100 years ago, is owned by the Forest Service, but the purchase agreement did not include mineral rights or several other encumbrances that threaten the nearby environment. Indeed, it’s possible that oil drilling could happen on the 4,400 acres of Forest Service lands that encompass the 218 acres of the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It’s all very legal, and mineral owners have the right to access their minerals. But the legal right to do so is not the same as ethical behavior when it comes to damaging environmental and historical values, that once compromised are lost forever.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.