Here’s another look at the shell game being played by the originators of the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.). Yet this one also looks at who thinks they’re going to call the shots if J.A.I.L. is adopted.
As the J.A.I.L. Lies series noted, last year the national J.A.I.L. organization said that liability under J.A.I.L. would “extend from the beginning participants, including administrative officials in an administrative case, through the final participants.” Once the Legislature and others started talking about the fact that J.A.I.L. applied to more than the judiciary, J.A.I.L.ers decided to put that approach under one of their shells. Instead, they decided to lift another shell to see if what was under it sold better for the time being.
J.A.I.L. founder Ron Branson pronounced that the statement that J.A.I.L. applied to “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity” only dealt with a situation in which the state Legislature expanded or added “newly named judicial offices in the future.” According to him, “J.A.I.L. deals only with the judge(s) granting or upholding the grant of judicial immunity to a party, whether an agency, employee, or official.” (Emphasis in original). Evidently, “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity” has now somehow become “all judges who allow other persons to claim to be shielded by judicial immunity.”
All these shells moving around on the table raises an interesting question. Who is ultimately going to determine the scope, meaning and effect of J.A.I.L. and its provisions if it is adopted?
The amendment itself (PDF file) says, “No judge under the jurisdiction of the Special Grand Jury, or potentially affected by the outcome of a challenge hereto, shall have any jurisdiction to sit in judgment of such challenge.” Since all judges in the state would be subject to J.A.I.L. and impacted by a challenge to it, that evidently rules the judiciary out.
How about the members of the Special Grand Jury? Sorry. J.A.I.L. says their “responsibility shall be limited to determining, on an objective standard, whether any civil lawsuit against a judge would be frivolous or harassing, or fall within the exclusions of immunity . . . and whether there is probable cause of criminal conduct by the judge complained against.”
Who, then, can we look to? That’s easy. In the same pronouncement quoted above, Branson said that “since I am the author of this verbiage, and penned these words, I am the final authority by operation of law as to what these words mean, and that all courts throughout the future must look to the author’s definition.” (Emphasis added).
In other words, J.A.I.L.ers want South Dakotans to amend their constitution and then leave it to someone from California to tell them what the amendment means if and when any issues arise. If that and the megalomania in Branson’s statement aren’t scary enough, the next installment in this series will look at Branson’s grasp and understanding of legal concepts and see just how qualified he is to bind “all courts throughout the future.”
The egotist is next-door to a fanatic.
Samuel Smiles, Character