Herseth Sandlin addresses appointment to federal bar

When the Jan. 6 riots erupted at the U.S. Capitol, Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said she began to once again feel a pull toward public service that convinced her to be sworn into the federal bar on Feb. 10. 

But Herseth Sandlin, who hasn’t yet been nominated for a position as a federal judge, said she also feels strongly about the work that she currently does at Augustana.

“For me, the reward of my work here at Augustana and the call that I felt over four years ago to come here is still really strong,” Herseth Sandlin said in an interview with the Mirror on March 9. “That’s why my heart struggles with where I am at this point.”

Herseth Sandlin said in an email to staff on Feb. 16 that she had been approached about the possibility of a federal judgeship. But it wasn’t until the riots at the Capitol that she truly felt the desire to begin the necessary preparations for a potential appointment.

“It wasn’t until after January 6 that I was open to having the conversation about serving in a different way,” she said. “It’s hard for me to imagine leaving Augustana, but the pull on my heart towards public service is still there.”

Herseth Sandlin, a South Dakota native, graduated from Georgetown Law School and clerked for a U.S. District Court judge in Pierre and a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Maryland. In 2004, she was elected into the U.S. House of Representatives.

After serving for four terms in the House of Representatives, Herseth Sandlin joined a law firm in Washington, D.C. and later was hired as Legal Counsel at Raven Industries in Sioux Falls. She was hired as Augustana’s president in 2017. 

Herseth Sandlin said that because she hasn’t been nominated, she is not at a “decision point” yet. 

“It’s really the discernment process at this stage,” she said.

She said that she was first admitted to practice in Federal Court in 2000 when she was on the East Coast, but didn’t have the occasion to appear before the local federal bar when she was general counsel to Raven Industries. 

If Herseth Sandlin is nominated, she knows she will have an important decision to make.

“That’s where I struggle and I’ll continue to wrestle and discern,” she said. “But that doesn’t in any way diminish how strongly I feel about the importance of our work, my love of this work and my commitment to this community.”

Leave a Reply

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: