Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Who is Ralph Erickson?

Ralph R. Erickson is President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Age:  58 (approximate)

Current Position:  U.S. District Court Judge, District of North Dakota


  • B.A., Jamestown College (1980)

  • J.D., The University of North Dakota Law School (1984)


  • 1984-1994:  Associate, Ohnstad Twichell, P.C.; solo practice (West Fargo, ND)

  • 1993-1994:  Magistrate Judge, Cass County Court (Fargo, ND)

  • 1994:  County Judge, Traill, Steele, Nelson & Griggs Counties Court, North Dakota

  • 1995-2003:  State District Judge, East Central Judicial District Court (Fargo, ND)

  • 2003-present:  U.S. District Court Judge, District of North Dakota

Notable matters

  • Judge Erickson was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by unanimous consent.  

  • During his time in private practice, Judge Erickson was a trial lawyer and focused on personal injury, workers compensation, and divorce.  He also prosecuted for the City of West Fargo, North Dakota.  

  • In 2004, Judge Erickson presided over North Dakota’s first federal death penalty case, which was also the first death penalty case in North Dakota in over a century.

Biography:  Judge Erickson was born in Thief River, Minnesota and grew up in Rugby, North Dakota.  He is married and has two daughters.

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How the Nazis Used Gun Control

The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did ... Read More