FARGO – The only current federal judge to have actively served in all three branches of government (state and/or national) was born and raised in Fargo.

Richard Goldberg was a North Dakota state senator from 1967 to 1974, served in the United States Department of Agriculture as undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs from 1987 to 1989, and is federal judge at the United States Court of International Trade since 1991.

Early in his multifaceted career, Goldberg had been an officer in the U.S. Air Force, a college instructor, a lawyer in the public and private sectors, and the president and CEO of a seed and feed company. animals in West Fargo.

Because of his extensive business and legal experience in dealing with agricultural issues domestically and internationally, Goldberg became President Ronald Reagan’s logical choice to oversee “international trade matters involving agriculture” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agriculture.

One of the biggest issues between the United States and our foreign trading partners was protective tariffs. Protective customs duties are taxes that are added to foreign goods or products “intended to increase the cost of an import so that it is less competitive compared to roughly equivalent domestic products”.

One of the main reasons that foreign goods may cost less than US goods is the cheap labor wages paid to foreign workers to harvest and/or produce the goods. In retaliation, other countries have imposed tariffs on goods imported from the United States, which can harm our economy.

One of the largest trading partners of the United States is Canada, and the tariffs imposed by the two countries in the 1980s hurt both the United States and Canada. Reagan wanted to implement a deal with Canada that would improve the economies of both countries, and on August 1, 1983, appointed Goldberg to the position of Assistant Undersecretary for International Affairs for Commodity Programs. In 1987, the president promoted Goldberg to undersecretary for the same program, so he could take on a bigger role in negotiations with Canada.

On October 3, 1987, Reagan announced that the United States and Canada had reached agreement on all essentials. He stated that a trade agreement with Canada would be signed on January 2, 1988. Reagan asserted that this agreement “will eliminate all Canadian tariffs, guarantee greater access to the Canadian market for our manufacturing, agricultural, high technology and financial sectors , and improving our security through increased access to Canadian energy supplies.Most of the agricultural provisions had been worked out by Goldberg.

When George HW Bush was elected president in 1988, he held Goldberg back until most of his projects were completed. Largely through Goldberg’s efforts, free trade agreements had been concluded with Canada, Mexico, most European countries, the USSR, Taiwan, India, Japan, and South Korea.

In April 1989, Goldberg resigned from his position with the United States Department of Agriculture and entered private practice with the Anderson, Hibey, Nauheim and Blair Company of Washington, DC. It was a law firm specializing in “U.S. taxation of cross-border income, with particular emphasis on U.S. foreign and multinational investments, investment funds, and foreign investments in U.S. real estate “. Goldberg brought to the firm his knowledge and experience of international commercial law involving “agriculture and administrative law”.

On November 30, 1988, Paul Rao, judge of the United States Court of International Trade (CIT), died, leaving a vacancy on that court. The CIT is a federal court which “tries civil actions arising under the customs and international trade laws of the United States…and exercises broad jurisdiction over most trade-related matters, and is authorized to hear and decide cases all over the country, as well as abroad.”

The CIT is one of three national courts, alongside the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It was up to Bush to appoint a replacement for Rao on the court, and since he was well aware of Goldberg’s knowledge and experience in dealing with international trade law issues, he had no hesitation in appointing Goldberg to the post on January 8. 1991.

On March 21, the US Senate Judiciary Committee met to hold a hearing on Goldberg’s nomination. Everything seemed clear until a letter from the Board of Directors of the Customs Bar Association and International Trade opposed Goldberg’s nomination. In the letter, counsel claimed he had very limited trial experience and might be biased against women. They claimed Goldberg made derogatory comments about a female judge.

After that senses. Kent Conrad and Quentin Burdick spoke favorably about him, the Senate confirmed Goldberg’s nomination by unanimous consent. Goldberg received his commission four days later.

Goldberg became the third North Dakota to be appointed to the CIT. George M. Young, a Valley City lawyer, served from 1924 to 1932. He had been a state legislator from 1901 to 1908 and a member of the United States Congress from 1913 to 1924, relinquishing his seat in Congress after his appointment to CIT.

Morgan Ford, a Fargo attorney, served as a CIT judge from 1980 to 1992. Ford, a nephew of William Langer, had a notable legal practice in Fargo before serving as Casselton’s city attorney for several years.

Goldberg assumed senior court status on April 2, 2001 and served as arbitrator in cases involving some of the largest international corporations (i.e. Hyundai, Tiffany & Co., eBay, etc.).

He ranks some of his most memorable cases like the “North Dakota inmate who sued the state after being tied up and left naked, and a Christmas Grinch who scammed children out of thousands of dollars with the promise of ‘a fake Miami vacation show’.

At 94, he is the oldest CIT judge in the country and has now reduced the cases he hears. Having served for over 30 years, I believe Richard Goldberg deserves some time off.

Last update on the murder of Susan Berman: In April 2005, I wrote about two high-profile unsolved murders of Beverly Hills women whose fathers lived in North Dakota. One of the two was Susan Berman, daughter of Davie Berman, credited as “The Mob Boss of Las Vegas.” Susan had been murdered on December 24, 2000, and in March 2015 I updated this article to report that earlier that month the FBI had arrested Susan’s longtime friend Robert Durst for the crime. On September 17, 2021, Durst was convicted of murdering Susan, and in October he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of On January 10, 2022, Durst died.

“Did You Know That” is written by Curt Eriksmoen and edited by Fargo’s Jan Eriksmoen. Send your comments, corrections or column suggestions to Eriksmoens at [email protected]