Meierhenry appointed to S.D. Supreme Court Gov. Bill Janklow announced Friday he is appointing state Circuit Judge Judith Meierhenry of Sioux Falls to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
"She is an outstanding jurist," Janklow said. "She's a people's judge. She cares about children. She cares about victims of crime. She brings a lot of real-world experience."
Meierhenry, 58, fills the vacancy created by the recent retirement of Justice Robert Amundson. Meierhenry was appointed as a circuit judge in 1988 by the late Gov. George S. Mickelson. She has served as presiding judge for the Second Circuit since 1997.
With the appointment, Meierhenry becomes the first female member of the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Meierhenry and her husband, Mark, have two grown children. A native of Burke, Meierhenry graduated from The University of South Dakota in 1966 with a bachelor of science degree and in 1968 with a master's degree. She worked as a teacher from 1966 to 1974, then attended the USD law school and graduated in 1977. After two years of private law practice in Vermillion, she was named as director for the state Office of Economic Opportunity in 1979 by Janklow during his first term as governor. Janklow later appointed her to cabinet positions as state secretary of labor in 1980 and state secretary of education and cultural affairs in 1983. She joined the staff of Citibank South Dakota in 1985, serving three years as a senior manager and assistant general legal counsel.
Meierhenry was one of three candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy forwarded to the governor by the state Judicial Qualifications Commission, which screens applicants and makes recommendations for state circuit court and state Supreme Court positions. "It's one of the best lists I've ever had," Janklow said.