Judges Weigh In: Vote No on Measure 1

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release


Fargo – Three prominent North Dakota judges have urged voters to reject Measure 1, which would permanently change the state constitution to read “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

Judge Robert Wefald, Judge James Vukelic and Judge Thomas Davies have all publicly spoken out against the measure.

Former North Dakota Attorney General and District Court Judge Bob Wefald foresees massive litigation in the state’s future if the measure passes, costing North Dakota taxpayers millions of dollars and tying up courts.

“If you like litigation and spending lots of money on attorney fees, vote yes on Measure 1,” said Wefald. “If you would like to avoid losing litigation and lots of attorney fees, vote no on Measure 1. As a retired lawyer and judge, who thinks approving Measure 1 will lead to losing and costly litigation, I am voting no on Measure 1.”

Former Chief Deputy Attorney General and former District Court Judge James Vukelic said Measure 1 could impact a wide variety of health care decisions, including end-of-life and IVF.

Vukelic weighed in on John Ashcroft’s visit to North Dakota by saying, “Mr. Ashcroft’s comparison of Measure 1 and the Missouri state statute is misleading at best. A statute is different from a constitutional amendment. Statutes are interpreted to see if they meet constitutional standards. Amending the constitution – and in North Dakota’s case, by adding a very vague sentence – will mean ALL statutes in North Dakota are subject to interpretation based on this new language.”

Thomas Davies, a retired Fargo municipal judge, recorded a video about his opposition to Measure 1. Davies is the son of former federal judge Ronald Davies, who is known for his ruling desegregating schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.

“Measure 1 lets government intrude on our most basic medical decisions and will affect end-of-life directives like do-not-resuscitate orders and living wills,” Davies said.

“Highly respected North Dakota judges are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1,” said Dina Butcher, chair of North Dakotans Against Measure 1. “They see how this vague amendment will result in legal battles funded by taxpayers and lead to additional anguish for North Dakotans making personal medical decisions.”

North Dakotans Against Measure One (NDAM1) is the official campaign in opposition to the Measure One initiative on the ballot in November. NDAM1 is volunteer-driven committee consisting of a diverse group of state-based leaders including doctors, lawyers, hospital chaplains, parents, and advocates. Measure 1 would permanently change the North Dakota constitution and could have far-reaching consequences for a variety of medical decisions – including end-of-life directives and infertility treatments.