Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

South Dakota chief justice elected to lead national court associations

(Williamsburg, VA) July 31, 2015 – South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson has been elected president of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and chair of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The one-year positions became effective this week during CCJ’s annual conference and NCSC’s Board of Directors meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Chief Justice Gilbertson is the first Chief Justice from South Dakota to be selected for this position.

Chief Justice Gilbertson was first elected as chief justice in 2001 and is currently serving his fourth term, becoming the longest-serving chief justice in South Dakota’s history. Prior to joining the South Dakota Supreme Court, Chief Justice Gilbertson served on the circuit court bench, worked in private practice, and served as a deputy state’s attorney. 

Chief Justice Gilbertson gained national attention in 2006 when he successfully led the fight against JAIL for Judges in his state. If this initiative had passed it would have broken down South Dakota’s judicial system and posed a potential threat to judicial systems in other states. 

In 2013, Chief Justice Gilbertson was recognized with the Grass Roots Award by the American Bar Association for creating a program in South Dakota that encourages attorneys to establish a law practice in a rural area by refunding to them over a five-year period for the cost of their legal education. 

Chief Justice Gilbertson is past president of the South Dakota Judges Association. As a member of CCJ, he has served on the Tribal Relations Committee and the Task Force on Politics and Judicial Selection/Compensation. 

Founded in 1949 and comprised of the top judicial officers of each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, CCJ promotes the interests and effectiveness of state judicial systems by developing policies and educational programs designed to improve court operations. CCJ also acts as the primary representative of the state courts before Congress and federal executive agencies.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts. 


National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA  23185-4147