The Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation 2015 Recipient

Carrico award Info


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Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle

North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle has been named recipient of the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation. The award honors a state chief justice who has inspired, sponsored, promoted, or led an innovation or accomplishment of national significance in the field of judicial administration. NCSC will present the award to Chief Justice VandeWalle July 28 during the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators in Omaha, Neb. 

“If ever there was an individual who merits this special recognition, it is Chief Justice VandeWalle,” NCSC President Mary C. McQueen said. “He is devoted to the law and to continuous improvement of the legal profession. Chief Justice VandeWalle was one of the first court leaders in the country to raise the importance of elder issues, which has led to greater national awareness and protection of the elderly from physical abuse and financial exploitation.” 

To say Chief Justice VandeWalle has earned the respect of his peers is an understatement. Nominations for this award are not normally solicited, but 16 state chief justices and 23 state court administrators, on their own initiative, nominated Chief Justice VandeWalle. “That is a testament to the regard in which he is held and respect shared for him by judicial leaders across the country,” McQueen said.

Chief Justice VandeWalle was appointed to the Supreme Court of North Dakota in 1978 and became Chief Justice in 1993. He has served as President of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), Chair of the NCSC Board of Directors, CCJ’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, and he was appointed by Chief Justice of the United States William H. Rehnquist to the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Chief Justice VandeWalle has received national awards, including the Robert Kutak Award for increasing cooperation between law schools, the judiciary, and the practicing bar. He also was awarded the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eighth Circuit, and recently was named the 41st recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, which is presented to North Dakotans who have achieved national recognition in their field. In May, Chief Justice VandeWalle received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of North Dakota.

The Harry L. Carrico Award is named after the late Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, who participated in the founding of the National Center. The award was created in appreciation of Chief Justice Carrico’s life-long commitment to NCSC and its mission of improving the administration of justice.