South Dakota Supreme Court

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South Dakota Supreme Court
Established 1841
Country United States United States
Location Pierre, South Dakota
Authorized by South Dakota Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length 8 years
Number of positions 5
Website Official Website
Chief Justice
Currently David Gilbertson
Since 2001
Jurist term ends 2013

The South Dakota Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of South Dakota. It is composed of a chief justice and four associate justices appointed by governor and selected from five different appointment districts. Justices face a nonpolitical retention election three years after appointment and every eight years after that. The justices also select their own chief justice.

The Supreme Court of South Dakota serves as the final appellate court in the state, reviewing the decisions of state circuit courts.[1] The Supreme Court is also authorized to issue original or remedial writs and provide advice to the governor regarding the scope of executive powers, then six in 1884, and eight in 1888.

In 1889, the Dakota Territory was split into North Dakota and South Dakota, and the Territorial Supreme Court was formally dissolved by President Benjamin Harrison. An election was held in South Dakota to select the first state supreme court. Justices Dighton Corson, Alphonso G. Kellam, and John E. Bennett were elected and sworn-in October 15, 1889. Since there was no capitol building yet for the new state, the oath-taking ceremony took place on the Hughes County courthouse veranda. The court was forced to use the county courthouse until 1891 when they began holding court in the state legislature's senate chambers. The South Dakota Supreme Court did not receive their own chambers until the autumn of 1905.

In 2002, Judith Meierhenry was appointed by Governor William Janklow as the first woman Supreme Court Justice. She served until her retirement in 2011.


Supreme Court Justices[edit]

The current justices of the South Dakota Supreme Court

Title Name Appointment Current Term Ends Law School Graduated From Appointed by
Chief Justice David Gilbertson 1995 2013 University of South Dakota School of Law William J. Janklow
Associate Justice John K. Konenkamp 1994 2014 University of South Dakota School of Law Walter Dale Miller
Associate Justice Steven L. Zinter 2002 2014 University of South Dakota School of Law William J. Janklow
Associate Justice Glen A. Severson 2009 2013 University of South Dakota School of Law M. Michael Rounds
Associate Justice Lori S. Wilbur 2011 2015 University of South Dakota School of Law Dennis Daugaard

Past justices of the Supreme Court including justices of the Dakota Territorial Supreme Court.[edit]


  1. ^ Unified Judicial System of South Dakota, South Dakota Supreme Court, rev. July 2002

External links[edit]