PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Democratic Party has put out a "help wanted" ad for a federal judgeship, after Augustana University president and former congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said she's no longer interested in the appointment.
"We will move with both great care and expediency to offer insight and to recommend a potential nominee to fill the upcoming judicial vacancy that the Biden administration will fill," said SDDP Chair Randy Seiler, a former Obama-era U.S. Attorney for South Dakota.
Herseth Sandlin, a Democrat who represented South Dakota in Congress from 2004 to 2011, released a statement this week announcing she'd "indicated to the White House" that she no longer wished to be considered for a position on the federal bench.
"Given all that we have accomplished together -- not just this past year, but over the past four years -- and all the energizing and important opportunities ahead, my calling is here with you," said Herseth Sandlin, who has served as president of the private, Sioux Falls university since 2017.
Herseth Sandlin's name had previously been floated as a possible U.S. attorney or federal judge, after being sworn into the federal bench, according to reporting from the Argus Leader.
A vacancy is expected in the federal court in South Dakota this coming October, when U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken steps down to "senior status."
In the press release on Wednesday, April 21, the state Democratic Party named what they called a "diverse group" to review applications, including Democratic legislators Sen. Troy Heinert and Rep. Peri Pourier, representing districts in the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations, respectively, University of South Dakota Law School Dean Neil Fulton, who is a former Republican staffer to Sen. Mike Rounds and Julian Beaudion, a former law enforcement officer and director of the South Dakota African American History Museum.
Last month, President Biden announced a diverse slate of 11 judicial candidates, including three Black women, a Muslim American woman and an Asian-American Pacific Islander woman.
Any federal judge nominated must receive Senate confirmation.