David Gilbertson

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David Gilbertson
Court Information:
South Dakota Supreme Court
Title:   Chief justice
Salary:  $127,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Bill Janklow
Active:   1995-2022
Chief:   2001-2017
Past post:   Judge, South Dakota Fifth Judicial Circuit
Past term:   1986-1995
Personal History
Born:   10/29/1949
Undergraduate:   South Dakota State University, 1972
Law School:   University of South Dakota School of Law, 1975
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Supreme Court
Position:  Retention
State:  South Dakota
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  83.4%ApprovedA

David E. Gilbertson is the chief justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court. Republican Governor Bill Janklow appointed him to this court on April 3, 1995. He represents the state's 5th Supreme Court district. He was retained in 2014 for a term that expires in 2022.[1]

Gilbertson was first elected by his peers on the court to a four-year term as chief justice in 2001. He was re-elected in 2005 and again 2009.[2] On May 28, 2013, Gilbertson became the first chief justice in the history of the state to be elected to a fourth term as chief. This term will expire in 2017.[3]



See also: South Dakota judicial elections, 2014
Gilbertson was retained to the South Dakota Supreme Court with 83.4 percent of the vote on November 4, 2014.[1][4]

Past elections

Gilbertson was retained by the state's voters in 1998 and 2006. [5][6]


Gilbertson received his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University in 1972 and his J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1975.[7]


Gilbertson established a private practice in Sisseton, South Dakota, and simultaneously served as a Roberts County deputy state's attorney and city attorney for Sisseton. In 1986, former Governor Bill Janklow, a Republican, appointed Janklow circuit judge of the South Dakota Fifth Judicial Circuit. Gilbertson joined the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1995. When then-Chief Justice Robert A. Miller retired in 2001, Gilbertson was elected to take his place.[2]

Awards and associations


  • 2006: Distinguished Service Award, National Center for State Courts


  • 2005-2007: Member, Board of Directors of the National Conference of Chief Justices
  • Past president, South Dakota Judges Association
  • Member, Conference of Chief Justices
  • Member, Judicial-Bar Liaison Committee, State Bar Association
  • Court counselor, South Dakota Boys State[2]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Gilbertson received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 1.13, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of 1.05 that justices received in South Dakota. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[8]

See also

External links


South DakotaSouth Dakota Supreme CourtSouth Dakota Circuit CourtsSouth Dakota Magistrate CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of South DakotaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of South DakotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitSouth Dakota countiesSouth Dakota judicial newsSouth Dakota judicial electionsJudicial selection in South DakotaSouthDakotaTemplate.jpg