Columnist claims Rusch in running for state supreme court By David Lias
Plain Talk According to David Kranz, political columnist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Circuit Court Judge Art Rusch has a good chance of being named a justice to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Former Attorney General Mark Barnett took himself out of the running last week, opening the door wider to speculation about who is most likely to succeed Richard Sabers. Attorney General Larry Long had generated some buzz, but last week Rusch's name became prominent among speculators, according to Kranz. "He (Gov. Rounds) has been considering all of the people he has interviewed," Joe Kafka, Rounds' press secretary told the Plain Talk Monday. "There were 11 people who applied; Mark Barnett dropped out last week. I don't know who the other 10 are, I'm not privy to that, and all I know is the governor will not publicly talk about the people who have applied." Kafka said Rounds will announce his decision sometime in the future, "but I don't know when that may be." The press secretary knows the governor has yet to announce a date when he'll be making his decision, because he's been asked by several other reporters when Rounds plans to name Sabers' replacement, and each time, Kafka must response that he doesn't know. "He finished interviews about two weeks ago, and he was asking for more information on some of the candidates," Kafka said, "and sometimes that takes awhile to come in. Until all of those questions are answered and he's had a chance to go over everything, he wouldn't make a decision. "And when he would, I wouldn't necessarily think he (Rounds) would telegraph it," Kafka said. "It's probably going to be one of those situations where Wednesday of next week, for instance, he'll come to me and say 'we need to put out a press release; I've picked a replacement justice.' I won't even know until then." Only the governor and the his chief of staff know who the 10 candidates for the justice position are. "I can't tell you who they are, because I was't privy to that information," Kafka said. Rusch became a judge in the First Circuit in 1994. He was in private practice in Vermillion from 1972 to 1994. As Kranz wrote in his column last week, speculation does not matter. It is up to Rounds to decide.