Authored by Ken LaMance, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law
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South Dakota has 1,700 attorneys, with many of them being Sioux Falls lawyers. An attorney in South Dakota must pass a vigorous bar examination, earn a JD from an ABA accredited law school, and be found to have good moral character. South Dakota is unique in that it will license out-of-state lawyers to practice without taking the South Dakota Bar Exam, so long as they are working for a state public defender agency or legal aid bureau.
South Dakota courts consist of the Supreme Court, Circuit Court, and lower Magistrate courts. Some magistrates are not required to be attorneys. They are only required to possess a high school diploma, and are allowed to rule on warrants and uncontested small claims cases. The Circuit Courts are South Dakota’s main trial courts. There are approximately 38 circuit court judges presiding in 7 judicial districts in South Dakota.
Anyone who has traveled across Interstate 90 in South Dakota has had the good fortune of seeing some of America’s greatest monuments, both natural and man made. The Badlands of South Dakota and Mt. Rushmore are two must see attractions for any traveler. Lesser known but no less awe inspiring is the Crazy Horse memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills forest. 17 miles south of Mt Rushmore, the memorial will dwarf Mt. Rushmore once finished, and will be the largest existing sculpture in the world.
South Dakota has a large number of Indian reservations. It has had two significant Supreme Court decisions which originated in its territory. One, South Dakota v. Bourland, continued the Federal doctrine that Congress has the authority to abrogate Indian sovereignty over tribal lands, even if the United States has signed treaties with the tribe specifically claiming otherwise.