Rebuttal >From J.A.I.L. Author Ron Branson Re: "J.A.I.L. Escapes From The Asylum"
The above "A Progressive on the Prairie" attributes its credit to the "South Dakota War College" as their springboard for writing "J.A.I.L. Escapes From The Asylum." I am unsure as to what points made therein are supported by the South Dakota War College, or whether "A Progressive on the Prairie" merely took the acknowledged fact of the effort of the www.sd-jail4judges.org, and decided to deride it. One thing for sure is that "A Progressive on the Prairie" proudly boasts its points made therein.
I have unsuccessfully searched the South Dakota War College website for the origin of this article and have found nothing. Perhaps this is oversight on my part, but all I could come up with was a list of current active Initiatives taking place in South Dakota found at: http://dakotawarcollege.blogspot.com/2005_06_26_dakotawarcollege_archive.html
The S.D. War College informs their readers that there exists an "Initiated Constitutional Amendment to add a new section titled Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.). View full text of petition." This is hardly an expose of South Dakota Judicial Accountability. So, until I know better, I shall place the full responsibility on "A Progressive on the Prairie" (hereinafter "Progressive) for the article I now critique.
It is oft said that we should give credit where credit is due. It is in that spirit I commend Progressive for having actually read the Initiative before taking up their pen to denigrate it. Such is unlike so many others who have failed to do.
Progressive quotes prolifically from the Initiative so as to inform the reader of the true nature of what South Dakota J.A.I.L. is all about that it will actually win converts to J.A.I.L. rather than drive people away. Our differences seem to ride upon what we each believe how the populace will take to what J.A.I.L. actually says. I have oft said, "If you are going to critique J.A.I.L., attack it for what it says, not for what you wished it would have said." For the most part, Progressive has chosen to attack J.A.I.L. honestly.
The criticism raised by Progressive is, "But if the special grand jury is going to be acting as a judge, why isn't it subject to JAIL? And won't it be interesting to look at the names of the people who sign the petition if and when it ultimately gets filed with the Secretary of State?"
Progressive fails to understand the differences in position and function between that of a Grand Jury and a judge. Judges have jurisdiction to try and to adjudicate cases on the merits when the cases are properly before them, and particularly so where there are no jurors involved. Judges are either elected by the populace or appointed by the governor. Judges may seek re-election, and judges generally are not forbidden from pursuing continuance on the bench. Further, judges may anticipate a retirement.
None of the above is true with the Special Grand Jury. They have no jurisdiction to try a case on its merits, or to second-guess the exercise of a judge's discretion. They are neither elected or appointed. They cannot seek continuance as a SGJ, and they will never receive a retirement for serving as a SGJ.
There is one another gigantic and outstanding difference between a judge and the SGJ. A judge is a public servant that serves the People in the third branch of government. He must swear by an Oath of Office to uphold and defend the Constitution to which he is accountable.
The Grand Jury does not belong to any of the three branches of government. Grand Jurors are not public servants, they ARE in fact the People! They do not take an Oath of Office, for they hold no government office.
God created the People, the People created the Constitution, the Constitution created the three branches of government, and all three of those three branches of government "derives it just powers from the consent of the governed [the People], that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." ~ The Declaration of Independence.
As to the quote from H. L. Mencken, to wit; "The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic." It is obvious that Progressive's problem is not with the South Dakota Judicial Accountability Initiative, but with the founding document that established our country, namely the Declaration of Independence. The above quote asserts that all of our Founding Fathers were idiots, and that he disagrees with the American form of government they established by our Constitution.
Further, by Progressive relying upon such a ridiculous quote, shows they do not believe in our American form of a government of the People, but rather advocates a government of the government - the People be damned! What a shame!