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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Friday, July 22, 2016

U.S. Attorney's Office Announces Civil Rights Section

Alison Ramsdell Selected to Spearhead New Section

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Alison Ramsdell has been selected to head up the newly created Civil Rights Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Dakota.  As leader of the Civil Rights Section, Ramsdell will serve as the contact person on all civil rights matters for the District.

Ramsdell joined the U. S. Attorney’s office in 2014, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Sioux Falls office.  In that capacity, her primary focus has been civil litigation.

The Civil Rights Section enforces federal civil rights statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.  Among those statutes are the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act.  The Section also works closely with the Criminal Division to prosecute criminal civil rights cases, such as those involving police misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking.

In addition to enforcing federal civil rights statutes, the Civil Rights Sections strives to educate community members about their rights under federal law by engaging in outreach programs throughout the District. 

Ramsdell was born and raised in Flandreau, South Dakota. She received her undergraduate degree in International Economics, Spanish and Public Relations, with a minor in Business Administration, from Valparaiso University in 2008, and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2011. While attending law school, Ramsdell wrote and edited for the Iowa Law Review, worked for the Citizens’ Lawyer Program, and volunteered at the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence/MUNA Legal Clinic.

Upon graduating, Ramsdell practiced at Murphy, Goldammer & Prendergast in Sioux Falls. She then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Karen E. Schreier and the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, where she primarily handled pro se matters.

“With societal changes and threats to the fundamental rights of certain segments of our society, such as the LGBT community, it has become increasingly necessary to have a dedicated attorney to handle civil rights matters in South Dakota,” said U.S. Attorney Seiler. “Alison Ramsdell brings an abundance of talent, energy, and compassion to her new position. The protection of every citizen’s civil rights has historically been a priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but we are ramping up those efforts and Alison will play a significant role in enforcing those laws.”

For further information, or to schedule a training or outreach program, please email

Civil Rights
Updated July 22, 2016