Justice Adolph M. Christianson (N.D. Supreme Court)

On this date in 1954, Justice Adolph M. Christianson passed away at age 76. Christianson was born in Brunmundalen, Norway in 1877. With his parents he immigrated to the United States in 1882 and settled in Polk County, Minnesota. While mostly self-educated, Christianson did study at the Law Department of the University of Tennessee. He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1899 and the North Dakota Bar in 1900. Christianson moved to Towner, ND where he was in private practice until 1914. Christianson also served as McHenry County State’s Attorney from 1901 to 1905. In 1914, at age 37, Christianson successfully ran for a seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court and defeated Justice Burleigh Spalding (See December 3, 2013 post). While on the Court, Justice Christianson was widely known for his civic activities. Christianson was a member of the Rotary Club, Lions Club, and a 33rd degree Mason. Christianson became heavily involved in the Boy Scouts and served in many leadership roles. During the depression, Christianson was Chairman and State Relief Administrator for federal funds allocated to North Dakota and later Chairman of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. He was also involved nationally in the formation of the National Youth Administration and even turned down President Franklin Roosevelt’s offer of a position. Christianson also served as President of the Bismarck (N.D.) Community Chest for 21 years. During World War II, Christianson also headed the North Dakota War Chest. Ultimately, Justice Christianson would go on to be re-elected to his seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court in 1920, 1926, 1932, 1938, and 1948. When Justice Christianson died in 1954 he was still in office after having served 39 years and one month. To date and probably for all time, Justice Christianson holds the distinction of being the longest serving Justice on the North Dakota Supreme Court.