It appears part of the campaign for the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) is to attack the Legislature. J.A.I.L.er-in-chief Bill Stegmeier has told the Associated Press the yarn that the Legislature violated the state constitution and state law by unanimously passing a resolution opposing J.A.I.L. As usual, it’s BS.
Stegmeier told the AP the resolution “violates the state constitution by interfering in an election and violates a state law prohibiting publication of false information on ballot measures.” J.A.I.L. has previously said the Legislature’s action violates two provisions of the South Dakota Constitution: Article VI, § 19 and Article VII, § 1. Both contain the following language: “Elections shall be free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage[.]” The J.A.I.L.ers claim the resolution somehow violates the free exercise of the right to vote.
This exact language appears in many state constitutions. Yet the cases analyzing those provisions are clear. The right protected by these provisions is the right to vote and applies to situations where the right of a voter is somehow directly impinged. The resolution has no impact on anyone’s right to vote. All qualified voters remain free to walk into their local polling place and cast whatever vote they want not only on J.A.I.L. but in any other race or ballot question. In fact, a Washington court specifically rejected a similar challenge, noting that a resolution adopted by a city council opposing a ballot measure “served beneficial purposes, including generation of public interest and debate [and] informing citizens of their elected representatives’ stands on the ballot issue[.]”
The other BS claim is the resolution violates SDCL 12-13-16, which makes it a misdemeanor to print, publish or deliver any document about a ballot issue that gives “false or misleading information” to South Dakota voters. This claim is particularly ironic. Not only does the resolution not contain any false or misleading information, as the “J.A.I.L.’s Lies” series demonstrates, it appears J.A.I.L. is the one violating that law.
Of course, I don’t imagine we should expect much better from Stegmeier and his California puppet masters. They refuse to talk about the core issues or merits of the initiative. Instead, they’d rather keep blowing smoke up everyone’s rear end. Maybe that comes with the territory when you’re promoting a piece of excrement.
An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish.
Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition