Justice Nels Johnson (N.D. Supreme Court)

On this date in 1958, Justice Nels Johnson on the North Dakota Supreme Court died at age 62. Born in Akrens, Iceland on April 30, 1896, Johnson immigrated with his parent to the United States in 1900. He attended school in McHenry County and graduated from Bottineau High School in 1917. After graduating from the University of North Dakota with his undergraduate and law degrees, Johnson was admitted to the North Dakota bar in 1926. He started practicing law in McHenry County and would serve as that county’s State’s Attorney for ten years. In 1944, Nels Johnson was elected as North Dakota Attorney General and was subsequently re-elected to the post in 1946. In June 1948, Nels Johnson was defeated in the Republican primary in his attempt to seek another term as Attorney General and subsequently resigned the position in September to start in private practice in Bismarck. On April 1, 1954, N.D. Governor C. Norman Brunsdale appointed Nels Johnson to fill the seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court left vacant by the death of Justice Christianson. Justice Johnson was successfully elected that fall to fill out the remainder of Justice Christianson’s term. In 1958, Justice Johnson successfully sought re-election to the post for a ten year term, but passed away before his new term could begin.