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North Dakota Supreme Court justices
North Dakota Supreme Court justices
TitleNorth Dakota Supreme Court justices
Date of Original1934
CreatorButler Studio
Creator RolePhotographer
DescriptionA portrait of the justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court. Top, left to right: Judge John Burke, Judge William L. Nuessle, Judge Alexander G. Burr, Judge Adolph M. Christianson, and Judge George Moelring; lower level, left to right: J.H. Newton (clerk), and E.J. Taylor, Librarian, reporter and marshal.
Ordering Information
General SubjectLaw
Politics & Government
Subject (LCTGM)Courtrooms
Judicial proceedings
Personal NameBurke, John, 1859-1937
Nuessle, William L., 1878-1959
Christianson, Adolph M., 1877-1954
Burr, Alexander G. (Alexander George), 1871-1951
Newton, J. H.
Taylor, E. J.
Moellring, George, 1878-1935
Organization NameNorth Dakota. Supreme Court
LocationBisbee (N.D.)
Item Number10121-277
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryJohn Burke came to North Dakota as a lawyer, but worked as a harvest hand, teacher, and newspaper man before becoming Rolette County judge in 1889. He served in the North Dakota House and Senate before being elected governor in 1907. He filled the role of United States treasurer between 1913 and 1921, and served on the North Dakota Supreme Court between 1924 and 1937. A statue of Burke stands on the North Dakota Capitol Grounds and in National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.
A.G. Burr worked as an attorney and as states attorney at Bottineau (1894-1908), district judge at Rugby (1908-1926), and ND Supreme Court Justice, later Chief Justice (1926-1949). In 1938, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University Of North Dakota. He was involved in the Presbyterian Church: in 1904, he was moderator of the ND synod, was later moderator of Bismarck presbytery, was an ordained elder, and a member of the permanent judicial committee of the Presbyterian general assembly. Burr was also involved in the Democratic Party, the Masons (New York and Scottish rites), the Kiwanis Club, Odd Fellows, and was on the Jamestown College Board of trustees. Burr was a prolific speaker, and published The Apostle Paul and the Roman Law and contributed to several fraternal and religious magazines. He was a patriotic man, a WWI Four Minute Men speaker for Liberty Loan drives, and chairman of the Pierce County American Red Cross, who was interested in international affairs, involved in the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the World's Federation of Peace, and organizations supporting the League of Nations. A.G. Burr died February 8, 1951 in Bismarck, ND.
William L. Nuessle was born May 5, 1878, in North Boston, Erie County, New York. In 1886 he came with his parents to the Dakota Territory and settled on a farm near Emerado in Grand Forks County. He received his early education in the Grand Forks area public schools, and his higher education at the University of North Dakota, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1899, and his law degree in 1901. After being admitted to the Bar he opened an office in Goodrich, North Dakota. In 1904 he moved to Washburn and was elected State's Attorney for McLean County and served four years in that capacity. He was elected to the District Court Bench in 1912 and served the Sixth and Fourth Judicial Districts until his election to the Supreme Court in 1922 at age 44. He was reelected in 1928, 1934 and 1940. After serving 28 years, he retired at the expiration of his term on December 31, 1950. Justice Nuessle remained in Bismarck until his death, at age 80, on March 30, 1959.
Adolph M. Christianson was born in Brunmundalen, Norway, in 1877. He came to the United States with his parents in 1882. He spent his childhood days in Polk County, Minnesota, and received his early education in the Minnesota public schools. He was, for the most part, self-educated; but he attended the Law Department of the University of Tennessee and was admitted to the Bar in 1889. He moved to North Dakota in 1900 and was admitted to the North Dakota Bar on March 27th of that same year. Justice Christianson immediately opened an office in Towner, North Dakota, where he practiced until his election to the Supreme Court. During his practice in Towner he served as State's Attorney from 1901 until 1905. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1914 at age 37. He was reelected to the Court in 1920, 1926, 1932, 1938 and 1948. Justice Christianson died in office at the age of 76 on February 11, 1954, after serving on the Court for 39 years and one month.
George Moellring was born in Quincy, Illinois, on November 14, 1878. He received his common education in the Quincy schools and studied law at Chaddock College of Law in Quincy. He completed his study at age 19; since he was too young to be admitted to the Bar, he taught school for one year and then enrolled in post graduate study of law at Highland Park College in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1901 he received a master of laws degree and was admitted to the Iowa Bar. He moved to North Dakota in 1902 and was admitted to the Bar. He practiced in Langdon from 1902 until 1905 and then moved his practice to Ray, North Dakota, in Williams County. Moellring authored a novel called "The Neutrals Portion" in 1916 under the pen name of Elwin Lorraine. In 1920 he was elected Judge of the District Court for the Fifth Judicial District and was reelected in 1924, 1928 and 1932. He resigned from the District Bench after 13 years of service to accept an appointment to the Supreme Court. On December 1, 1933, at age 55, he was appointed to the Court to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Justice Birdzell. He served one year and one month and was defeated in the election of 1934. He served as Assistant Attorney General for a short time after the 1934 election. Justice Moellring died on May 31, 1935, at age 56.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionAlexander G. Burr Papers Mss 10121
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota (10121-277)
Rights ManagementCopyright status unknown.
Digital IDsh10121277
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