This may end up being a never-ending series given the fact Amendment E proponents seem to have compulsion to mislead the public. The latest comes in South Dakota J.A.I.L.er-in-Chief Bill Stegmeier’s response to a recent op-ed piece by Sioux Falls attorney Dean Nasser Jr. But Stegmeier’s response is largely a repetition of the same old falsehoods we’ve heard before.
Stegmeier first says Nasser claims that J.A.I.L. allows elected officials to be sued individually “but offers no proof.” He then writes, “The fact is, Amendment E deals with judges, not school board and county commission members! The word “judge” appears 35 times in Amendment E. The word ‘school’ … zero. The word ‘county’ and the word ‘commission’ …zero.” Even though this claim has already been rejected by the courts, Stegmeier once again insists on ignoring the proof — the plain language of the amendment he claims to have “authored.”
Since Stegmeier either doesn’t want to or can’t understand “his” own proposal, let’s go through it one more time to see if he and the other J.A.I.L.ers can get a grasp on what it actually says.
The proposed amendment defines “judge” to include “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity.” As Judge Gors ruled, “[J]udicial immunity may extend to any decision maker who exercises judicial functions: petit jurors, grand jurors, school boards, county commissions, city councils, professional and occupational licensing boards, prosecutors and other attorneys.” Thus, as I have previously noted, every time J.A.I.L. refers to “judge” (35 times if Stegmeier’s count is correct), it is referring to the persons who sit on school boards, county commissions and other citizen boards.
Stegmeier next drags out the fallacy that because boards and commissions act as a group, the members cannot be sued individually. I’ve previously addressed this in detail. Yet to show the extent to which Stegmeier either does not understand his own proposal or believes it necessary to mislead the public, he says, “let’s say a person disgruntled with a school board’s decision is bound and determined to sue the school board president. Amendment E neither allows nor prohibits such a lawsuit, in fact it has nothing to do with it.” That is false.
Currently, a suit against a school board president arising out of the board’s quasi-judicial functions would be subject to the defense of immunity. Yet the express purpose of J.A.I.L. is to provide a mechanism by which to take away that immunity, even if the action complained of is “weakening” a person’s case or delaying the proceeding. Contrary to Stegmeier’s assertion, Amendment E has everything to do with whether the school board president could be personally sued and his or her personal assets put at risk for participating in our democracy.
Finally, one of the themes of Stegmeier’s response is the latest J.A.I.L. hallucination — the claim that Amendment E’s application to more than judges is simply a scare tactic hatched by opponents. Yet this is no more than Stegmeier trying to run from his own words and those of the national J.A.I.L. organization. It is yet another example of J.A.I.L.’s continuing effort to reinvent the past when it’s prior pronouncements are contrary to their current version of the “facts.”
So, other than attacking Nasser, the “response” is standard J.A.I.L. practice: lie to and deceive the public. It is no longer ironic ironic that a bunch of extremists who claim to carry a banner of accountability and accuse opponents of lying still refuse to tell the truth about the most basic facts of Amendment E. Rather, it is a sign of desperation and true insight into the type of people behind the proposal.
[Lying] is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later.
Philip Dormer Stanhope