Local News

The South Dakota Supreme Court is pleased to announce the Justices have selected Justice Steven R. Jensen to serve as the next Chief Justice of South Dakota’s highest court. 


Justice Jensen, a resident of Union County, became a circuit judge in 2003 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2017.  Justice Jensen grew up on a farm near Wakonda, South Dakota. He received his undergraduate degree from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1985 and his Juris Doctor from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1988. He clerked for Justice Richard W. Sabers on the South Dakota Supreme Court before entering private practice in 1989.  Justice Jensen and his wife, Sue, have three children.


In response to his election, Justice Jensen stated “We need no reminder today that we continue to face challenges ahead, but I am truly looking forward to serving the people of South Dakota as Chief Justice.  I am grateful to Chief Justice David Gilbertson who leaves the court system in a strong position.  I can only hope to carry on his legacy of innovation and dedication to a strong and independent judiciary that provides invaluable services to our citizens.”


The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the South Dakota court system which has 586 employees and an annual operating budget of $58 million dollars.  The Chief Justice also works very closely with the Governor and the Legislature on matters related to the court system in South Dakota.


Justice Jensen will assume the office of Chief Justice immediately upon the retirement of Chief Justice Gilbertson in January, 2021.