Is South Dakota turning into a One-Party Dictatorship?

I guess we should not be surprised about the Amendment A ruling today.

There used to be a time where South Dakotans could actually fight the goofy one-party legislation and that was by putting sensible legislation on the ballot and through the court systems, and now those processes are rigged.

While the SD GOP has been successful taking over most of the local governing boards, the state legislature and the constitutional offices, they now have officially have taken over the courts.

I think the one dissenting SD Supreme Court Justice, Scott Myren said it best;

Myren’s dissent focused on the single-subject decision. He noted that Amendment A received substantial media attention and that voters were informed about its intent.

“I believe that the propositions in Constitutional Amendment A are ‘incidental to and necessarily connected with’ the object of providing a comprehensive plan for all phases of legalization, regulation, use, production, and sale of marijuana and related substances,” Myren wrote. 

He is exactly right. I can guarantee if you interviewed every single voter in that election, whether they voted NO or YES, they would all agree they knew by voting for this measure it would legalize Cannabis for Recreational use if passed. I don’t think the supporters of Amendment A were deceiving anyone. And as Myren also points out, with any initiative or amendment there is a factor of regulation, I also think voters understand that.

But I think the most important part of his dissent was this;

Myren says the majority “departs from the ‘Strong presumption of constitutionality’ we are to accord to Amendment A” and the will of the voters.

This is the most important part of the case, because the will of the voters should always be upheld. The SD Supreme Court could have done that while separating out the regulation part, but cowered to obvious political pressure from the Right Wing Dictatorship that runs the entire state;

Although the Court agreed that the first 13 sections of Amendment A were a single subject devoted to legalizing marijuana, it declined to separate that by finding those sections legal and the rest of the amendment unconstitutional. 

In other words, they could have agreed with Justice Myren that what the voters really wanted could have stood, while striking down the parts in the Amendment that need to be handled by the legislature (regulation and taxation) and the fact the other two parts (Industrial Hemp and Med MJ) are already legal and are moot.

There is also the question of how this even made it to the courts;

Ultimately, the Court ruled they didn’t have standing, but because Gov. Kristi Noem ratified the action, the challenge was valid.

“While Thom and Miller lacked standing to commence this action, our conclusion that the Governor ratified the prosecution of the action and is bound by the outcome of this litigation cures any standing defect,” Jensen wrote.

This part makes me question what kind of cooperation was going on between the governor’s office and the court system in private. How did Noem know she had to make this correction in mid-stream? And how is it that the governor can sue it’s own citizens (voters) while using their tax dollars to do so? That is the epitome of corruption and the foundation of any strong fascist regime. It’s mind boggling.

Like I said from the beginning, I wasn’t shocked of the outcome, South Dakotans have been voting in these clowns for years and we get what we deserve. The problem now is we have no way to remedy bad laws in the initiative process or the court system. We now are stuck with a regime we created by ignorantly electing radical right dictators that want to control our lives, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, cuz you got nothing else.



41 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 11.24.21 at 7:57 pm

There were several other items snuck into the Amendment. According to SD law and the courts decision there can only be one item. A few in the legislature and the governor knew this would prevent recreational pot. The public voted for it but a few republicans deliberately and deviously stopped it from happening. Now it must come to another vote.

This reminds me of the Huether vote; Do you want an events center downtown or at the convention center? Voters thought it to mean where they’d eventually prefer a location. Huether interpreted it to mean approval on an events center at the convention center.

Government has become like buying a used car except a car transaction is easier, secure, and with the right of refusal.

#2 Very Stable Genius on 11.24.21 at 9:24 pm

What I don’t understand about this whole issue that a constitutional referendum must contain only one subject is that I would think such a contention must be challenged before its passage by the voters and not after. Because once it is approved by the voters, then such a constitutional amendment should have equal footing with any other part of the constitution. Especially, when you consider that the contention of what a single subject really encompasses in meaning is itself up for debate.

Absence an injunction to stop the placement of the recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot due to the requirements of Amendment Z, which passed in 2018, the allowing of the marijuana amendment to be voted on, and thus, or even potentially passing legitimizes its constitutional standing, IMO. Because no one portion of a constitution can have supremacy over another part, especially when the phrase “one subject” is in question and not litigated before the questionable amendment is voted upon by the voters.

By saying that a constitutional referendum can be challenged after the voters have given it constitutional standing, because of the one subject phrase, suggests the window of opportunity to challenge a constitutional referendum is endless, and if so, what prevents a constitution from then eating upon itself overtime? AND, what about constitutional amendments that where passed before Amendment Z became a part of the constitution? Can they be challenged based on Z’s requirements? AND, if not, why should they receive supremacy or legitimacy over other amendments?

Constitutions often have competing interests, which require courts to often pick upon competing rights, but such rational decision making, however, does not need, nor justify, the right to negate one right for another, but rather to allow one right to dictate over another for a given fact pattern, but not with entirety and certainty.

( and Woodstock adds: “Wow Man!”…. “After all of that, I could use a real good puff”…. )

#3 l3wis on 11.24.21 at 9:33 pm

I do understand your argument. It goes back to what I said when this bogus challenge started, you must honor the intent of the voters, and if the courts or legislature must tweak the finer points, so be it, but they can’t take away their initial intent, but they can fine tune it.

#4 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.24.21 at 10:21 pm

Well, the court struck down the Amendment A just as I thought should have happened. IT was in fact a revision, it created an entirely new Article after all. Why did the petitioners choose a Ballot Measure approach rather than the Convention approach, it is cause they knew they did not have the votes, and they tried to be sneaky and get it past the people. All of which “WE” told this this would happen. Rightfully so. Follow the Constitution, and this will never happen. Period. 70% of this State said NO to the Amendment, that should tell you something about the wording of Amendment A.

#5 Corn Dogger on 11.24.21 at 10:26 pm

Sad. Voters spoke and Noem used her henchmen to file suit using a technicality knowing the very conservative court would likely rule in her favor. All parties involved knew the voters were 9n favor of rec MJ but at the very least, the lawsuit could stall it for several months.

In the meantime, this will be a Pyrrhic victory for Noem. She won the battle but will lose the war….the will of the voter was ignored. The voters will speak again soon and this is the type of issue that gets incumbents whom are out of touch removed from office

#6 Very Stable Genius on 11.24.21 at 10:29 pm

Exactly! The window of opportunity, relative to Amendment Z (2018), to challenge the recreational marijuana amendment ran out when the marijuana amendment was placed on the ballot, and then approved by the voters.

We all think that we all understand what is meant by a single subject requirement, but absence any declaratory relief on that matter, which there had not been up to Election Day 2020, the legitimacy of the wording of any potential constitutional referendum is to be given the benefit of doubt, and if it must be questioned, it should be done before a vote on it is taken by the general public.

Show me wherever in American constitutional history – a written constitution and constitutions (states), I might add – where a part of a constitution has been ruled unconstitutional by another part of the constitution? It’s not logical. It’s never happened. How could you create a constitutional hierarchy based on that belief without making such a constitution nothing but a document of legal Jega?

At the federal level, for instance, the 21st Amendment replaced the 18th Amendment concerning prohibition. But the 21st Amendment was specific in intent and had legalistic replacement qualities. Amendment Z, without it’s single subject phrase having been defined by the courts prior to 2020 election, has no legal precedence or right to judge another constitutional referendum/amendment. It cannot be done after the fact as it has been done with this legal case, and if it is going to be done, however, can only apply to future constitutional referendums up for consideration that have had an injunction placed upon them, and that have not yet been passed by the voters.

#7 Very Stable Genius on 11.24.21 at 10:40 pm

This state supreme court decision should be challenged at the federal level in the US Supreme Court on the grounds that the application of and the indifference to the appropriate window of opportunity for Amendment Z caused a equal protection violation of the voters rights to amend their own state constitution relative to other constitutional referendums, which have passed and have not been challenged by the courts after the fact, or passage.

#8 Very Stable Genius on 11.24.21 at 11:31 pm

I might also add, that the reason we got this decision is because the pro-marijuana team argued that the recreational marijuana referendum was constitutional based on the requirements of Amendment Z, when they should have argued what the limits of Amendment Z were in terms of an window of opportunity to challenge the recreational marijuana referendum through Amendment Z. As well as the absence of any definition of what is meant by a single subject and its limits.

By allowing Z to have supremacy, they defeated their own case with very simple black letter law.

Having shown, however, that the window of opportunity to challenge the recreational marijuana amendment had run out would have then allowed them to make the arguments which I have put forward above.

The pro-marijuana team allowed the other side to define the argument, when they should have broadened the debate and showed the limits of Amendment Z’s capability, constitutional footings, and legal relevance.

#9 David Z for Mayor on 11.25.21 at 9:38 am

It should be clear that SD government does not work for the people and the voters. That means it works for some other group – probably rich campaign contributors who want to get even richer and keep the rest of us subdued and afraid. Once you figure that out, government actions and policy make a lot more sense.

#10 l3wis on 11.25.21 at 9:56 am

Mike, you need to drop the electoral argument in the passage of the MJ issues. 54% of the total voters in SD approved REC MJ. Period. Your argument about the counties is pure and simple BULLSH!T! Secondly, the SDSC did NOT address your whackadoodle convention argument. They threw that crap out.

#11 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.25.21 at 11:06 am

First off, the U.S Supreme Court would not interfere with state rights as protected by the 10th Amendment, the South Dakota Citizens have the right to create their own rules concerning how to amend the State COnstitution.

Secondly, I will stand by my claim that those 40+ Counties where the “People” collectively voted NO on Amendment A has legal standing as to show the majority of the State does not “consent” to the proposed Amendment as drafted, as passed. At any given time, all it takes is for 1 Sheriff to come forward to protect the PEOPLE of his/her County to protect their collective interests (Local ORdinances, Rules, Regulations, the People).

Scott, if you continue to say my argument shoing 70% of the counties has no legal standing, I urge you to study the state constitution further, and to ask yourself, what purpose do the statistics present to us for keeping track of the results.

The fact is, we DO NOT govern this state based souly on the “voter wishes”, we govern the state based “Consent of the Governed” and the losing side of any vote, whether in the legislature or the public have every right to “Challenge” the result by referring it back to the voters, or challenging the amendment in our courts for a second opinion.

What the 70% of the Counties voting no “represents” is the sure fact that a strong majority of our citizens had issues with Amendment A regarding the style, form, and manner of which it was written and voted on. That is in fact what the court did rule on.

It matters not if 54% of the 415,000 voters voted in favor of the Amendment, when the same block of voters have every right to “Challenge” it in our courts prior to consenting to such proposed law.

Democrats tend to think we are Democracy, we are not. We are a REPUBLIC of “Sovereign People” who meet and discuss proposed laws in a Republican Forum, not by a direct democracy.

#12 l3wis on 11.25.21 at 12:56 pm

Mike, you are correct that anyone can challenge it, but it still does not change the fact that it did legally pass at the ballot and secondly not one single individual challenged this, only the governor. IMO that speaks volumes to this kangaroo justice. If thousands of regular South Dakotans would have signed into this, I could see your argument.

#13 Remember When.... on 11.25.21 at 3:11 pm

Remember when SF voters were asked to decide the Convention Center/Washington Pavilion issue…..

It was ONE VOTE, you could not support one and be opposed to the other.

When we were asked to vote on medical/recreational marijuana it reminded me of this local SF election.

The printed materials the proponents used for the marijuana vote were very deceptive. I am a well-informed voter and I had to really stop and think about what I was being asked to vote on. These are two very distinct issues and they never should have been linked together.

Thank you South Dakota Supreme Court.

#14 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 11.25.21 at 5:50 pm

I would like to see a break down of how townships voted on the recreational marijuana referendum. Townships get a bum rap. They still exist, but are often ignored. If counties can have an electoral college, then why not townships? Where does it end though? What about neighborhood watch meetings?

#15 John M on 11.25.21 at 6:10 pm

If you are complaining about courts overturning the will of the people….remember the courts have overturned 1) segregation 2) gay marriage 3) ban on out of state money for ballot measures and many other things people voted on or voted in representatives to put in place.

#16 l3wis on 11.25.21 at 6:58 pm

Please post the SD Supreme Court rulings on these issues.

#17 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.25.21 at 8:44 pm

Fear, to get a closer look at how those townships may have voted, taken a look at the “Precinct” which breaks down that county vote even further. That is the reason why we collect that data upon voting results in the first place – to gain knowledge of and understand what the people in those sub-divisons truly think and feel on these issues. This helps ensures that one sector of our population cannot over run the majority. You may review all this data on the Sec/State website. When you break down these results, you will see that it really was a small portion of our population that did supported Amendment A.

Scott, the Governoe is the AT LARGE REP representing all 887,000 people on the State. She has to repsrsnt everyone equally, and that means ensuring that the mob does not trample over the majority. You you not argue the same thing Sioux Falls attempted to force all 887,000 state citizens to accept the beliefs of 195,000 city residents?

That 54% who voted yes on Amendmeby A is equivalent to the 195,000 people who live in SFS. SHOULD Sioux Falls have that much power over the majority?

The answer is NO – The governor is there to stop that from occurring. Another example was the covid policies. Some people in SFS wanted to suppress the majority to their Covid policies upon the entire state, the Governor stepped in and said that’s not gonna happen.

Think people. Think how dangerous it is to let a small group of people force laws upon the majority where that majority may or may not consent. When yoy understand this, then you understand the vote more clearly.

Thankyou.
MZ

#18 l3wis on 11.26.21 at 9:34 am

Mike, Noem was representing one person, herself. Wheat land, you said the ballot language was deceptive. So are you telling me you were tricked into voting yes?

#19 rufusx on 11.26.21 at 9:42 am

Here’s a single subject constitutional amandment:

Consent of the Governed Act:

“Any initiated act or Constitutional Amendment passed by a direct vote of the people, shall not be nullified or altered or amended in any way by any means other to a direct vote of the people.”

#20 D@ily Spin on 11.26.21 at 9:50 am

There’s hope. With the Californians and immigrants coming into the state there’ll be more democrats. The republicans should be worried. Californians here and coming are mostly Democrat. They’re angry pot is accepted there but taboo here. Some of the migrants from Afghanistan and Central America are coming. With the labor shortage there will be more Hispanics given citizenship. Either could become democrats because there’s more attention to personal liberty. Trump’s coup upset republicans. Noem’s alignment with Trump had a negative impact. This state, more than others, has the opportunity of becoming blue. The red hammer and cycle doesn’t belong in plains states.

#21 Further Fear & Loathing on 11.26.21 at 10:51 am

Some believe in geography and not the people. It may be Mother Earth, but what about the woman who lived in the shoe, do not her children have an eventual say?

#22 Fear the Fuhrer & More on 11.26.21 at 11:16 am

I smoked before I voted. It helped to clarify the issues involved. I then knew how and what I was voting for.

#23 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.26.21 at 2:46 pm

Scott, I voted NO on Amendment A for the simple reason it was BADLY written legislation, and because it was going to get us ‘sued’. I made every attempt to convince people to vote NO on the amendment, and I along with others nearly suceeded, now we challenged it in our courts, and won. It is now you job to present a better law, or bring back the same Amendment and request a Constitutional Convention.

Keep in mid, the same people who voted NO on the Amendment, also voted YES on Medical Marijuana.

You simply wrote a bad Amendment, which the majority of 887,000 people DO NOT agree with.

It is really that simple.

#24 l3wis on 11.26.21 at 3:10 pm

Mike, YOU didn’t sue anybody, not one single private citizen signed onto the lawsuit.

#25 "Woodstock" on 11.27.21 at 8:39 am

“My Uncle Harry, a private citizen, was going to sign on to the lawsuit, but then he smoked a bag and forgot all about it”…. ;-(

#26 The Guy From Guernsey on 11.27.21 at 9:09 am

Three of the current South Dakota Supreme Court Justices received their law school training and degree from law schools other than the University of South Dakota. Rather surprising.

Only one of these three did not spend the early formitive part of their careers in the offices of the South Dakota Attorney General.
South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Scott Myren.
Not surprising. At all.

#27 The Guy From Guernsey on 11.27.21 at 9:14 am

Imagine the enrichment in jurisprudence available to a fresh law school grad, from any law school, to spend the first decade or two of your career in the offices of the South Dakota Attorney General.

Yes, that is sarcasm.

#28 Very Stable Genius on 11.27.21 at 11:44 am

A one horse town is equivalent to a one law school state. A part of the constitution is unconstitutional, said the cancer eating the body. I’ve heard of an elastic clause, but never have I heard of a retraction principle. #BananaRepublicSchoolOfLaw #Pac-ManLaw

( and Woodstock adds: “Say, we should scrape the ‘Mt. Rushmore State’ theme and change it to: “Welcome to South Dakota, where our constitution might be unconstitutional”…. #Unconstitutional:We’reOnIt! )

#29 "Woodstook" on 11.27.21 at 5:18 pm

“Actually, I think we should ‘scrap’ it”….

#30 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.28.21 at 9:00 pm

Thanks to our County Sheriff’s – the County defended the interests of the People as Amendment A relates to our Constitution, Statutes, Local Ordinance..

#31 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.29.21 at 11:38 am

For all of you who been mad at me for supporting the “reversal” and removal of Amendment A, will also be proud of me that I have lobbied the Legislature to support drafting, adopting legislation to make Marijuana legal. I mean, really all we need is a short, simple 2-5 sentence paragraph to be added to Article 6 – Bill of Rights. Here is what I proposed to the Legislature and I been recommending the Cannibus industry to help support…

Article 6, Section 30 – The Right To Seed, Plant, Grow, Harvest, to Use Cannabis – Recreational and Medical Use – All Citizens of this State shall have the right to plant, seed, grow, and harvest Marijuana within this state, and no person shall violate that protected right by imposing a rule, code, or regulation that harms a person’s ability to transact with others the ability to purchase cannabis seeds, to plant, to grow, to distribute, other than to regulate the commercial activity thereof. No government entity shall make nor pass a law or code that substantially harms the free market will of the people, nor subject them to a fine, penalty, sanction less for violations of statute where the government has the requirement to protect the health and public safety, and property rights of another person.

IF we draft the right type of legislation, we can make this work.

#32 Sick of Fearing on 11.29.21 at 1:03 pm

They say down south that sheriffs run a state and not the governor. Once again, Mike is a confederate.

#33 "Woodstock" on 11.29.21 at 1:04 pm

“Say, just how many electoral college votes does Minnehaha County have anyhow?”….

#34 Very Stable Genius on 11.29.21 at 4:37 pm

Mike’s love for counties proves that he is also an Anglophile.

( and Woodstock adds: “‘Anglophile’?”…. “Does that mean he’s into British ….?”…. “Oh, never mind”… #Twiggy)

#35 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.29.21 at 5:27 pm

I am a “Anti-Federalist” not a confederate, please get it right. I do not like people manipulating what I say, or who I am. And for your information, the SHERIFF is the top law enforcement officer in the County, he is the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE of the residents of your county. He has the right to challenge any such law to protect the interests of your fellow citizens, your businesses, your local governments.

I wish all you people who use “Fake Names” understood how the governing process works in South Dakota, rather than call people names or attack them.

Thank You,

#36 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 5:36 pm

Mike, the Supreme Court actually said they could NOT bring the lawsuit until Noem intervened. I will say it again, NOT ONE SINGLE CITZEN PRIVATE CITIZEN brought a lawsuit or joined the one filed. I still have yet to meet or talk to ONE SINGLE PRIVATE CITIZEN that thought the lawsuit was a good idea. Noem brought this not because of constitutionality or that she is even against Rec MJ, she brought this because Amendment A took power away from the state when it comes to regulations and taxes. I guarantee if the Legislature brings a bill forward, and it is veto proof and passes it will make sure the state runs the dispensaries and takes ALL the taxes and profit from the sale of Rec MJ, this is what they want.

#37 scott on 11.29.21 at 6:09 pm

wasn’t milstead appointed sheriff? and when was the last time someone ran against him?

#38 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 7:05 pm

Scott, I think he was elected once but has never been challenged. I think he talks about it in this interview I did with him; https://www.southdacola.com/blog/2015/10/three-part-interview-wminnehaha-county-sheriff-milstead/

#39 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 7:06 pm

I actually think the Police Chief and Lead City Attorney should also be elected.

#40 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 7:07 pm

You know the sign of a strong dictatorship when your Fascist leader spends tax dollars on Sauna’s, Rugs, Desks and Air Planes.

#41 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.30.21 at 2:10 am

So, the Governor had to remind the COURT that the Sheriff’s have legal precedent and authority to bring forth the lawsuits on behalf of the citizens of their counties. hmm, thank god for Gov. Noem. Anytime we can challenge laws, amendments as they relate to the State Constitution, and in proper form, I love it.

And did you just admit in your last response to mine, that AMENDMENT A did in fact ‘revise’ the constitution?

“…she brought this because Amendment A took power away from the state when it comes to regulations and taxes.” – I3wis