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HB 1197: Require Attorney General to Have a Law License

Given my consistent track record of beating Jason Ravnsborg in court, I’ve thought maybe I should run for Attorney General. I could help the Governor and the rest of state government read the Constitution correctly, and since I’m an avid bicyclist, I’m far less likely to kill my constituents on the highway.

Plus, you don’t have to be a lawyer to be Attorney General. There aren’t really any qualifications for that august office; per Article 4 Section 7, you just can’t be elected to that office more than twice in a row. Chad Haber had no law degree when he ran for Attorney General in 2014 and won 18% of the vote. Given my superior ability to understand and follow the law, not to mention Ravnsborg’s own dismal failure as an Attorney General, driver, and decent human being, I could easily win the 2022 election and provide this state better legal advice and protection of Constitutional rights than the current officeholder. Besides, Ravnsborg has proven you don’t actually have to have any experience arguing criminal cases in front of a jury to be the state’s top law enforcement officer. That’s what deputies are for (Jim Leach, Randy Seiler, expect appointments…).

Ah, but the South Dakota Republican Party must feel me breathing down Jason’s loosely cravatted neck. On deck Monday in House State Affairs is House Bill 1197, wherein the Republicans appear to step just slightly back from their kakistocracy and suggest that maybe the state’s top lawyer really ought to be a lawyer. HB 1197 would require that our Attorney General be licensed to practice law in South Dakota.

Hmm… three years at USD… maybe the accelerated two-year program at Drexel… there must be a way I could get to sit for the bar exam before January 2023….

Ah, but rest easy, Jason. I don’t really need to beat you at the polls when I can beat you time and time again in court. Even if House State Affairs follows its Republican leanings and resists HB 1197’s audacious suggestion that the Attorney General have qualifications for the job, I suspect I’ll have more fun and possibly do more good as Secretary of State… because why be an attorney when Lee Schoenbeck would make the Secretary of State a judge?


  1. grudznick 2021-02-19

    Clearly you need no additional help for your self-backpatting and super modest gloating for things that would have happened anyway, but let grudznick toss you some apropos anyhow. Even I could out lawyer that Mr. Haber fellow, who of course is one lucky fellow for being married to the very young and very pretty Dr. Boz. Everybody hated Mr. Haber and loved Dr. Boz.

  2. leslie 2021-02-19

    Grdz is a troll.

    Remember Ted Cruz is an Ivy Leauge lawyer, Justice Scalia clerk, and roasts bacon on the overheated barrel of an assault rifle easily modified to fire as a machine gun.***

    Brian Tyler Cohen
    Let’s be clear about what this Ted Cruz saga is about.

    It’s not just about a trip to Cancun.

    It’s that the GOP is now a party that is no longer interested in governing. They are a party that elects trolls, conspiracy theorists, & attention seekers—devoid of any desire to serve. Twitter

    Trolls serve trolls in South Dakota.

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-02-19

    Brian, its always been the case of Republicans saying government doesn’t work and then when elected proving their case.

  4. John 2021-02-19

    Admirable analysis, again. Thanks.

  5. grudznick 2021-02-19

    grudznick is not understanding how Mr. Cruz’s weekend jaunt, before which he clearly needed a new haircut, is related to Mr. Ravnsborg’s ineptitude as the General Attorney for all of South Dakota. In some ways I guess they do look alike, but Mr. Cruz is far more accomplished as a hard working fellow.

    For the record, grudznick does not think Mr. Cruz should have been going on vacations in Mexico. Do you even know what goes on down there on vacations?

  6. You too could be a lawyer 2021-02-20

    Cory, you could sign up for bar examine in California without having gone to a law school. Once you have a sheet from Cali you could take the SD exam and be a licensed bar fly here too.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-02-20

    I wondered about doing some Lincoln-style self-study and taking the bar exam without a degree. Alas, SDCL 16-16-6 requires that an applicant to take the SD bar exam “must furnish satisfactory evidence that he graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association with a J.D. or LL.B. degree or that he will so graduate prior to the examination, or that he has successfully completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to the examination.”

    The Party of Lincoln has forgotten that Abraham Lincoln never got a law degree.

  8. John 2021-02-20

    Maybe the Republicans trying to pass this should take a law class?,

    Cory wouldn’t this need to be a Constitutional Amendment to add a qualification to a CONSTITUTIONAL officer—kind of like California wanting Trump’s tax returns and the Courts saying the legislature there couldn’t require that?

    Just food for thought, but like to hear your thoughts on this angle. Can we ask for Noem’s security detail costs to then keep her off the ballot? :):)

  9. Buckobear 2021-02-20

    Just think, we could have had a real Attorney General.

  10. Bob Newland 2021-02-21

    I was on the ballot for Attorney General in 2002. I opposed Larry Long and Ron Volesky, both despicable representatives of the major parties. I got a few thousand votes, none of which threatened the annointed Republican Long, who, as far as I could tell, was only slightly more qualified than Jason Ravnsborg.

    I had no law degree. I ran as a Libertarian, mostly to cross-promote a constitutional amendment in that election. The amendment would have allowed people accused of crimes to present an argument in their defense that the law (including sentencing laws) under which they were being prosecuted was ill-advised, stupid, and counter-productive.

    Needless to say, the entire pay-for-defense/pay-for-conviction establishment had a massive head explosion over that prospect.

  11. Bob Newland 2021-02-21

    To follow up, it appears that a law degree requires no actual knowledge of the law. Otherwise Ravnsborg would not be AG.

    Cory and I have differences. However, actual observation of reasonable laws don’t intersect with our differences.

    Requiring the AG to have a law license will do absolutely nothing to assure justice in SoDak.

  12. grudznick 2021-02-21

    Vote Bob.

    grudznick did.

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