It’s easy to summarize a couple items I posted to the No on E blog but didn’t get posted here. The editorial pages are fairly explicit in their condemnation of Amendment E. According to the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan, J.A.I.L. is “the worst of all the ballot issues” and voters should “bury” it.
The former is the award Amendment E gots from the Public Opinion. Here’s what the paper wrote Thursday as its editorial page summed up its position on the constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot.
Vote “NO” on the worst of all the ballot issues this year. This California-based initiative was begun in S.D. because our state has relatively easy regulations to get issues on our ballot. The out-of-state creators failed four times in their own state, and that’s the reason they brought this here. It’ll cause economic ruin, as most financial institutions won’t be able to operate in our state (i.e., won’t be able to get a mortgage, or a business loan), and in the end, will benefit only a few: those convicted and in prison, and those who want to get even. This is vindictive legislation at its worst. We need to let the nation know on this amendment, “E”, South Dakota is firmly against it.Vote NO on E
Kudos also to the Watertown paper for its excellent review of all of the ballot issues.
The latter comes from the headline of the P&D’s Tuesday editorial on Amendment E. The P&D also deserves a tip of the hat for the honest assessment in the “personal note” that appears in the penultimate paragraph of the editorial. Here’s an excerpt:
South Dakota’s proposed Constitutional Amendment E — the so-called J.A.I.L. amendment — on the November ballot is one of the more distressing measures to ever go before the state’s voters. At best, it’s unfortunate and possibly unconstitutional at the federal level; at worst, it’s an invitation to chaos not only in the state’s judicial system but for elected officials at various levels.* * *
What we see happening should Amendment E be enacted is a tidal wave of frivolous complaints, filed by disgruntled individuals, filling the dockets of these special grand juries. In some cases, what would the “complainants” have to lose? This would have devastating impact on the state’s judicial system and on governing boards. It would also have a chilling effect on potential candidates for judgeships and for boards: Who would be willing to expose themselves to such intimidation and punishment? That kind of atmosphere would indeed be a recipe for chaos.
One should also ask, if Amendment E is enacted and special grand juries are set up, would these special grand juries be subject to this same kind of review? And would the special grand jury that sits in judgment of the first grand jury also be exposed, etc., etc.? And if not, why not?
On a personal note, we should also mention that our fleeting exposure to the Amendment E proponents, several of whom hail from out-of-state and thus would not be affected by the mess they may generate here, has been intriguing, to say the least. Rightly or wrongly, they come off as hotheaded, paranoid, quick to pass judgment and the kind of people who probably wouldn’t hesitate to file lawsuits and take other actions against anyone they dislike or define as “wrongdoers” according to their own definitions. In short, they make the case in illustrating why the immunities they criticize were set up in the first place.
Many lawyers, judges and lawmakers have come out vigorously against this measure (proponents might claim it proves their point) for various reasons. In fact, the state Legislature adopted a rare resolution condemning it. So, let us try the angle of pleading: For goodness sake, run away from Amendment E — or better yet, make a stand and vote “no” on Nov. 7 to plant this thing in the grave of oblivion it richly deserves.
Opinion is power.