On Monday, Sept. 9, Gov. Kristi Noem appointed Pierre attorney Margo Northrup as judge in the state’s Sixth Judicial Circuit, which comprises 14 counties and is based in Pierre.
Northrup joins Presiding Judge Bobbi Jo Rank, Judge Christina Klinger and Judge Bridget Mayer and fills the vacancy left when Judge Patricia DeVaney was appointed by Noem to the state Supreme Court in April.
The Sixth Circuit is now the only one of the state’s seven circuits to have all judgeships filled by women.
As it happens, Noem has appointed three of them — Klinger, Mayer and now Northrup — since she began her term as governor in January. Judge John Brown retired in June and Judge Mark Barnett retired in March. Noem created the third vacancy by moving DeVaney to the Supreme Court.
The Second Circuit based in Sioux Falls has the most positions: 12 judges, seven of whom are women. Only the Fifth Circuit, based in Aberdeen with four judges, has no female judges.
There are 44 judge slots in the seven circuits; 19 of them are women, and that’s counting Northrup who hasn’t actually been sworn in yet.
Northrup will be sworn in and will begin judging in early November said Heather Covey, Circuit Court administrator in Pierre.
Northrup is a 2000 graduate of the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and sociology and a 2003 graduate of USD’s law school.
She grew up near Pierre, and she and her husband live in Pierre with their three children.
“Margo is honest, empathetic and trustworthy,” Noem said in a news release. “Her commitment to justice will equip her well to serve the people of the Sixth Circuit.”
Northrup has worked at the Pierre law firm of Riter, Rogers, Wattier and Northrop, LLP since 2004. She has done criminal defense work in federal court as well as family law, telecommunications law, business transactions and general civil practice.
Northrup has appeared before the state Supreme Court, federal court in the state, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court in Eagle Butte and the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis, which also holds court in St. Paul.
She is a member of the Pierre/Fort Pierre Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors for the Oahe Foundation, according to information located on the law firm’s website.