SIOUX FALLS – In observance of Women’s History Month, United States Attorney Ron Parsons is pleased to honor and highlight the first and only woman to serve as the Presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, the Honorable Karen E. Schreier.
The first U.S. Attorneys were appointed in 1789 and it was not until 129 years later that the first woman became a U.S Attorney. Her name was Annette Abbott Adams. She was appointed by the court and then nominated by President Wilson in 1918 to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. It was not until 39 years later, in 1957, before the next woman was appointed as a U.S. Attorney, Kathleen Ruddell, who was nominated by President Eisenhower to serve in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
It took some time, but the District of South Dakota eventually caught up with history. In 1993, Karen E. Schreier was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 36th U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. She served in that capacity for six years until 1999, when she was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as the first and only woman to serve as a U.S. District Judge in the District of South Dakota. Judge Schreier presided as Chief Judge of the District of South Dakota from 2006 to 2013, and continues to serve as the principal U.S. District Judge for the Southern Division.
Thanks in large part to the pathfinding accomplishments of leaders such as Judge Schreier, women now make up 56 percent (18 out of 32) of Assistant U.S. Attorneys serving in the District of South Dakota and approximately 60 percent of its total staff. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to commemorate Women’s History Month and to encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.
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