We're glad to hear that talk of potentially closing the Bruce M.?Van Sickle Federal Courthouse in Minot appears to be just that talk.
The 98-year-old facility did, however, rank 38th on a list of 60 facilities compiled as part of a study of unstaffed federal facilities in the United States. Minot's courthouse was ranked as the 38th most likely to close, with Grand Forks' facility ranking 40th.
But taking into consideration the increase in federal cases in western North Dakota, it remains highly unlikely the Minot courthouse would be in danger of closure. Rob Ansley, U.S. Clerk of Court in?Bismarck, pointed out that 37 other facilities would have to be closed first, and if the Minot courthouse was included in any closure discussion, they would request a study to highlight the increased usage of the Minot building.
We suspect court officials would have an easy time showing why the Van Sickle courthouse in downtown Minot should remain open. With increasing crime rates in western North Dakota, driven at least partially by the population increase brought by the booming oil industry, the courthouse remains a busy place. If it were to close, where would those cases be sent, and how quickly could cases be handled?
It's never a good thing to be on any sort of federal closure list, but we believe state officials when they say it's highly unlikely the Bruce M. Van Sickle Courthouse is in any realistic danger of being closed. Let's hope it stays that way.