South Dakota

South Dakota Supreme Court
Missouri Plan
5 Justices
3 year minimum initial terms, 8 year full terms
State High Court & Judicial Nominating Commission Composition & Terms of Judicial Nominating Commission Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority
      • 7 members:
    • 3 lawyers appointed by the president of the South Dakota state bar
    • 2 non-lawyers appointed by the Governor
    • 2 judges of the circuit court, elected by the judicial conference

Terms: 4 years (staggered), no more than 2 terms


  • Commission submits a list of at least two persons from which Governor must choose one.
  • At the end of a Justice’s term, the Justice will be subject to a statewide retention election and will continue for another term if the Justice is retained.

Interim Vacancies

  • A vacancy in the office of a Supreme Court justice or circuit court judge, shall be filled by appointment of the Governor from one of two or more persons nominated by the judicial qualifications commission.
  • The appointment to fill a vacancy of a circuit court judge shall be for the balance of the unexpired term; and the appointment to fill a vacancy of a Supreme Court justice shall be subject to approval or rejection as hereinafter set forth.

Percentage of Lawyers on the Nominating Commission

Who Selects the Nominating Commissioners?
  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.