PIERRE, S.D. — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday, April 4, appointed a justice to the South Dakota Supreme Court to fill a seat vacated in the Third Supreme Court District.

Patricia Jean DeVaney will fill the seat recently left empty when Justice Steven Zinter died in October, according to a Thursday news release from Noem's office.

DeVaney has served as a 6th Circuit Court judge since she was appointed to the seat by former-Gov. Dennis Daugaard in 2012. Prior, she worked for the South Dakota Attorney General's Office from 1993 to 2012 as an appellate and trial lawyer. She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1990, then earned her law degree from the University of Virginia.

Noem in Thursday's release said DeVaney has diverse law experience and "work ethic and passion for public service."

"She has a deep understanding of the law and its impact on people," Noem added.

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DeVaney called her appointment "a great honor and privilege."

“I started my legal career as a young lawyer many years ago in the state Capitol building, and I am honored to return to the Capitol to serve in this new capacity as a justice," DeVaney said.

Within the Third Supreme Court District are Brookings, Kingsbury, Moody, Miner, Sanborn, Beadle, Jerauld, Hand, Hyde, Hughes, Sully, Stanley, Brule, Buffalo, Jones, Jackson, Lyman, Mellette, Todd, Tripp, Bennett, Oglala Lakota, Fall River, Lake and Haakon counties.

South Dakotans will vote in the next general election in 2020 whether to keep DeVaney in the seat.