July 15, 2011
Meet John Rolczynski: The Grand Forks, N.D., resident has been trying to tell his legislators that an error in the state’s founding document means that technically, North Dakota is not a state.
Sounds like the ravings of a grumpy old man, but as it turns out, Rolczynski was right. News of uncertain statehood has put North Dakota in the spotlight and garnered big buzz.
Here’s the story: Back in 1889, North Dakota was carved out of the Dakota Territory and admitted to the Union at the same time as South Dakota. Or so everyone thought.
But the state founders who drafted the constitution left out the key requirement that the governor and other top officials take an oath of office, putting the state constitution in conflict with the federal one. So Rolczynski has been arguing for the last 16 years that the omission made the state illegitimate.