South Dakota Supreme Court

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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 the 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. 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.

South Dakota Supreme Court rulings on ballot measures

Year Type Ballot measure Legal issue Plaintiff Defendant Court ruling Impact
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Current members

The current justices are:


External links