Judge Rhonda Ehlis, '93, takes Oath of Office

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News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Law


Recently appointed Southwest District Judge Rhonda Ehlis received her robe and gavel before taking the oath of office in front of a crowded courtroom Friday as part of her Investiture Ceremony.

Ehlis took the robe from her father, Duane Pierce, the gavel from Elizabeth Ebert, president of the Southwest District Bar Association, and the oath from North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom.

Throughout the speech she gave after she took her oath, Ehlis joked with the audience, thanked numerous people who helped her on her journey to the bench and said she looked forward to the “next chapter” of her life.

Though she acknowledged the challenges her new role would bring, she said she would make the best decisions she could with each case brought before her.

“It is a serious job that requires serious thought, and I will give that to this job,” Ehlis said of her judgeship.

Ehlis had served as the Stark County assistant state’s attorney for nine years before being appointed to her new position by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple in late July.

Her appointment was one of four new judgeships added during the 64th Legislative Assembly to help the state’s district courts move through their caseloads.

She was sworn into office as the first female Southwest District judge on Sept. 1.

After the ceremony, Ehlis said she was “not used to having all of this attention.”

Besides her husband and daughter, who sat with her throughout, the hall was filled with her extended family and rows of onlookers.

Ehlis, a native of Scranton, described the ceremony as “humbling,” and said she would do the “best job that I can” in this next step of her career.

“It’s very daunting, and so there’s a burden there and expectations on myself -- and I want to live up to them,” Ehlis said.