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The Liberty Memorial Building on Capitol property in Bismarck, where the Supreme Court proposes to move for $55 million. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
The Liberty Memorial Building on Capitol property in Bismarck, where the Supreme Court proposes to move for $55 million. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

$55 Million Sought for Supreme Court 

Lydia Hoverson
 January 7, 2023
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Judiciary Would Move Out of Capitol Building 

lydia.hoverson@mydakotan.com  

BISMARCK – To the tune of $55 million, the judiciary branch plans to move out of the Capitol building if its proposed bill passes this session. 

The plan is to move the Supreme Court into the old Liberty Memorial Building on Capitol property, and the rest of the judicial entities will be housed in an addition to the building. The whole judicial branch therefore will be in one building, but separate from the legislative and executive branches, though on the same property. 

Chief Justice Jon Jensen said former governor Jack Dalrymple proposed the bill when he was in office, which cost $40 million at the time. 

“It was quite a ways along the process, and then some unanticipated budget constraints, and the judicial branch voluntarily withdrew the project,” Jensen explained. “Then in 2021, we brought it up to the legislature but didn’t submit a bill. Now in 2023 we are going to submit a bill.” 

The project would also include a civics education center, as in Dalrymple’s plan. 

According to Jensen, the project will benefit the legislative branch as well, though the legislature only meets four months every other year. 

“The legislature’s short on space,” said Jensen. “They don’t have offices. They do everything at their desk in either the Senate chambers or in the House. So if they want to have separate meetings, they really don’t have space to do it.” 

Jensen said judge training is all done in house, so the addition would include a training facility for those judges, as well as house all of the judicial administrative offices. 

“Right now, we’re kind of scattered throughout the Capitol,” said Jensen. “You’ve got some people in our accounting department on a different floor from our court administrator’s office, which is on a different place in the Capitol from our education department.” 

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