The same old lie – before a bit of truth

The lies continue. But, surprisingly, a bit of truth escaped from Amendment E proponents Tuesday. It must have been a mistake.

In a debate in Mitchell Tuesday night, Jake Hanes repeated the lie that pops out almost every time an Amendment E supporter speaks. According to the article in the Mitchell Daily Republic:

It [the amendment] says the word ‘judge’ 35 times in the amendment — no less than 35 times,” Hanes said. “There are specific violations of the law that a judge has to do. County commission, school board (members) act as a group. They cannot individually act and harm (another) individual person,” Hanes said. “I feel it is just a scare tactic brought up by our opponents.”

Hanes evidently forgot that just the day before South Dakota Bill Stegmeier told another South Dakota newspaper that, if he had it to do over again “he would throw out the provisions for board and commission members.”

Maybe one of these days J.A.I.L.ers will own up to the fact that the amendment defines “judge” to mean “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity” and the fact that encompasses the very entities Hanes lists. And perhaps some day J.A.I.L.ers will admit that the “specific violations” are so broad they include actions a school board or similar body would take. Yet I’m sure it will be in another galaxy and time that J.A.I.L.ers will be honest enough to admit that the whole purpose of the proposal is specifically intended to hold such people liable individually.

But Hanes actually told a bit of truth. He admitted that if the amendment passes, “I know this probably will end up going to court.” That admission alone raises an interesting question. Section 22 of the amendment says it is judicial misconduct for any judge that might be affected by J.A.I.L. to hear a case challenging it. In other words, at best, any challenges to Amendment E would have to be brought in federal court. But since federal courts have only limited jurisdiction over state law matters, it appears the amendment is drafted so as to try to preclude challenges to it.

Finally, observant readers may recall that Stegmeier wrote to the Attorney General and complained about the explanation of the amendment that would appear on the ballot. One of his complaints at the time? That the explanation said the amendment “will likely be challenged in court.”

Lies are never innocent.

Albert Camus, Caligula

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