FARGO - Cass County District Court Judge Lisa Fair McEvers was appointed Monday to the North Dakota Supreme Court by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

McEvers, 51, will replace Justice Mary Muehlen Maring, who is retiring next month after 17 years on the bench.

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McEvers said she is honored to be chosen out of 12 candidates vetted for the bench.

"The courts and the court system have been an interest and a fascination of mine for a long, long time," she said. "Opportunities to serve on the Supreme Court come up very rarely. There aren't a lot of chances to be considered."

McEvers became a district court judge in September 2010 after serving as North Dakota labor commissioner since 2005.

McEvers worked in a private law firm and was an assistant Cass County state's attorney from 2001 to 2005, prosecuting criminal, juvenile and drug court cases.

The Minto native earned a law degree with distinction from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1997.

"Judge McEvers brings a wealth of experience to the position of Supreme Court justice, experience that includes private practice litigation, trying criminal cases before a jury and presiding over civil and criminal cases as a judge," Dalrymple said in a statement. "She has a proven track record of success at every position she has accepted, including her service as a District Judge and North Dakota Commissioner of Labor.

McEvers' appointment will make her the fourth female justice to serve on the state Supreme Court after Justices Beryl Levine, Maring and Carol Kapsner, according to the governor's office.

The Fargo-based judge is one of the nine judges in the East Central Judicial District that includes Cass County.

Once McEvers decides when her last day as a district judge will be, a judicial nominating committee will accept applications for her replacement.

McEvers will fill Maring's term until the 2016 general election.

"I'm pleased to have this opportunity to serve," McEvers said.