The Law of Hard Times: Essays

Why, Oh Why, Has Attorney General Drew Wrigley Been So Lame on Enforcement of the North Dakota Anti-Corporate Farming Law?

By now, it is pretty clear that entities linked with Bill Gates are buying farmland in North Dakota. It is also pretty clear that Drew Wrigley, appointed as North Dakota’s Attorney General by Governor Doug Burgum, isn’t interested in enforcing…

The Soul of North Dakota: Again At Risk?

In 2016, Willie Nelson and I wrote an essay "Measure 1 Is About the Soul of North Dakota." It was about saving the North Dakota anti-corporate farm law. Six years later, this law is again at risk. And, this time the risk comes from an unexpected…
JFK and Burdick

In Plain English: What Are Our Politicians Doing to Help Family Farmers?

A few days ago, while researching early Nonpartisan League history, I fortuitously came across a speech by Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy delivered in Fargo, North Dakota on June 19, 1960 at North Dakota Senator Quentin Burdick’s birthday…
Ghost town

Ghost Farms and the Haunting of Main Street

Like many North Dakotans my age, I have vivid memories of the thriving rural North Dakota downtowns of my childhood. Bustling stores with picture window displays lined Main Street. There were usually two law firms in each town so as to be able…

Comments to the Members of the North Dakota Ethics Commission

Here are some close-to-final draft comments I will be sending to the North Dakota Ethics Commission on proposed rules. I think these rules are very poorly written and ill advised.  I’m sharing these draft comments on my “blog” because…
Sarah and Willie Nelson smiling outside tour bus

In Praise of Willie Nelson

In 1982, I met Mark Ritchie and he introduced me to Jim Massey, a legal services lawyer from Minnesota. At the time, I was representing family farmers in their appeals against the Farmers Home Administration, and I was getting frustrated by…