South Dakota’s highest court is the South Dakota Supreme Court. The court has four associate justices and one chief justice. The justices on the supreme court elect the chief justice by majority vote. (Source: South Dakota Secretary of State)
The governor appoints South Dakota Supreme Court justices from a list provided by a judicial nominating commission. After at least three years on the court, a justice may stand for an eight-year term in an unopposed yes/no retention vote at the time of South Dakota’s next general election. Justices may stand for additional terms in the same retention process. To fill an interim vacancy, the governor appoints a judicial candidate from a list provided by a judicial nominating commission. There are no term limits. The mandatory retirement age is 70.
South Dakota’s first and only state constitution was adopted in 1889. As of January 1, 2022, it had 124 amendments. (Source: Council of State Governments)
State courts — and to some degree federal courts — play a significant role in every stage of the direct democracy process.