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Schmidt becomes state’s newest district judge

Posted 9/18/13 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

On Sept. 13, 2013 at 1 p.m., Robin A. Schmidt officially became the newest district judge to serve in North Dakota’s Northwest Judicial District, with her court chambered in the McKenzie County Courthouse.
Her Investiture Ceremony was a celebration of her hard work and achievement, as she, a distinguished graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law, and the owner and operator of Schmidt Law Firm in Watford City, was recognized by the Lt. Governor, the Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, and retired Judge Ronald Goodman for her character, talents and abilities.
“What stuck out on Robin’s application was her desire to use her talents in the service of her state and the quest for justice,” stated Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.
Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle mused that with most Investiture Ceremonies, there is cause to thank the former presiding judge for their service and hard work. But in the case of Schmidt, there was no presiding judge.
There were judges from Williston and across the Northwest Judicial District who helped carry McKenzie County’s growing caseload. There was also retired Judge Ronald Goodman, who came out of retirement for one week a month to travel to Watford City and rule on cases.
“Thank you to those judges for holding it together,” states VandeWalle. “And thank you to Judge Goodman for shouldering the work for McKenzie County.”
According to VandeWalle, three new judgeships were created during the last legislative session, and Schmidt now holds one of them. In all, North Dakota now has 47 judges to handle everything from traffic violations to serious criminal matters.
VandeWalle commented that the Investiture of Schmidt was the first ceremony of its kind to take place in McKenzie County, and Schmidt is the first female district judge to preside in McKenzie County.
“We want to publicly recognize that a lawyer in this community has now become a judge,” states VandeWalle. “She is no longer an advocate, but is a fair and impartial jurist. And she must rely on the respect of her community to enforce her decisions.”
As part of the Investiture Ceremony, Schmidt was given her robe, a gavel and sounding board. She took an oath to uphold the constitution of the state of North Dakota, and she was welcomed into the North Dakota Judicial Family.
“In the end, there is only you,” stated Wrigley. “None of the people who supported you and spoke for you in this process will be with you when you have to sit and make decisions. Which is why the responsibilities of this position are both solemn and sacred.”
“Remember what you know before you became a judge,” stated Wrigley. “That it is part of a coequal branch, and that it is a privilege.”
Schmidt was appointed in July by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple. She began presiding in August, working closely with Judge Goodman, who Schmidt stated has been an outstanding mentor to her in her new position as judge.
Schmidt is a district judge in the Northwest Judicial District, which was divided in half during the last legislative session. Beginning in August, the Northwest Judicial District, which formerly consisted of McKenzie, Williams, Divide, Burke, Ward and Mountrail counties, now only consists of McKenzie, Williams and Divide counties. Ward, Mountrail and Burke counties now make up the Northwest Central Judicial District.