Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

Sep 28 2017

Heitkamp Statement on U.S. Senate Approving Judge Erickson to Serve on 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

Senator Spoke on the Floor of the U.S. Senate Today Reinforcing Support for Erickson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge her colleagues to approve Judge Ralph Erickson of Fargo to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Shortly after her call, the U.S. Senate approved his nomination, the final step before Erickson can be sworn in as a U.S. Justice.

In July, Heitkamp helped introduce Erickson during a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on his nomination. At the hearing and during her speech on the Senate floor today, she underscored the respect and admiration Erickson has earned from both Republicans and Democrats in North Dakota over his distinguished legal career in the state, and urged her colleagues on the Committee to support his nomination.

“Today I stood on the Senate floor to express my full support for Judge Ralph Erickson, an individual who has committed the bulk of his legal career to serving the people of North Dakota through his public service on both the state and federal benches,” said Heitkamp. “Judge Erickson, brings his own experience and empathy to each case he presides over and has shown a critical understanding of sovereignty and treaty rights of the tribes and North Dakota – as well as an acute awareness of the challenges and disparities in treatment of Native Americans under the law. Throughout his long legal career in North Dakota, Judge Erickson has earned the respect and admiration of not only Republican and Democrats in North Dakota – but of lawyers and individuals who have appeared before him on both sides of the issues. That balanced and fair approach has served him well on the District Court and in the Senate today as the bipartisan majority of my colleagues demonstrated their confidence in his judicial temperament to serve on the Eighth Circuit. By approving his nomination today, the U.S. Senate will help make sure every American standing before the Eighth Circuit will be served by a capable and exceptional judge from whom they can seek and find justice.”

Judge Ralph Erickson currently serves on the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota where he has served since 2003. Erickson served as the Chief Judge of the District of North Dakota from 2009-2016. He currently serves as the chair of the United States Sentencing Commission’s Tribal Issues Advisory Group.

Erickson was born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and he currently resides in Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated from the now University of Jamestown and the University of North Dakota School of Law. Following law school, Erickson joined the law firm Ohnstad Twichell, P.C. in West Fargo, North Dakota as an associate. He worked as a solo practitioner from 1991-1994. Prior to his appointment to the Federal bench, Judge Erickson was a judge on the North Dakota state district court for eight years.



Contact Senator Heitkamp's press office at