One South Dakota Supreme Court justice faces a retention election in November

One South Dakota Supreme Court justice, Steven Jensen, will face a retention election on November 3, 2020. He was appointed in 2017 by Governor Dennis Daugaard (R).

Currently, every justice on the court was appointed by a Republican governor.

The governor appoints the five justices of the supreme court through a hybrid nominating commission where neither the governor nor the South Dakota State Bar Association has majority control. The South Dakota Judicial Qualifications Commission is made up of seven members: two judges, three lawyers and two members of the public. The judges are elected by the Judicial Conference, the lawyers are chosen by the state bar association, and the members of the public are appointed by the governor.

When a vacancy occurs, the commission compiles a list of at least two names. The governor must then make his appointment from this list. Initially, justices serve for at least three years, after which they stand for retention during a regularly scheduled general election. If they are retained, justices serve terms that last eight years.

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