In re Interpretation of S.D. Const. art. V, 2 & 6Annotate this Case
The South Dakota Governor requested an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court regarding eligibility requirements for individuals seeking appointment to the South Dakota Supreme Court. The Governor asked (1) what actions or intent are sufficient to satisfy the requirement of S.D. Const. art. V, 2 and 6 that justices of the Supreme Court be voting residents within the district from which they are appointed, and (2) at what point in time must these actions be undertaken or intentions be formed? The Supreme Court accepted the request and answered (1) a person selected by the Governor to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court becomes a justice by qualifying for office by taking an oath or affirmation, (2) prior to taking that oath, that person must fulfill the eligibility requirement to hold that office including establishing voting residency in the district from which he or she is appointed pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws 12-1-4, and (3) by doing so, that person becomes a justice after taking the oath and complies with the constitutional directives of being a voting resident of the district from which he or she was selected.