The Senate confirmed Judge Ralph Erickson to be a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. President Trump nominated Judge Erickson for the position in June and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 95-1 after having voted overwhelmingly to proceed with the vote, continuing to show bipartisan agreement on some Trump judicial nominees, although other nominees have won confirmation by slim margins.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) had urged confirmation. "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," said Heitkamp. "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."
Likewise, Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) spoke briefly before the confirmation vote: "We welcome him to his new role on the 8th Circuit and look forward to his continued work to uphold our founding principles in the Constitution and maintain the rule of law."
Judge Erickson has been a state or federal court judge for the past 22 years. Most recently, he was a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, where he was also chief judge from 2009-2016. In addition to his judicial duties, Judge Erickson is chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Tribal Issues Advisory Group. Before joining the federal bench, Judge Erickson spent eight years as a North Dakota district judge. Judge Erickson earned a history degree from Jamestown College and a law degree from the University of North Dakota.
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