December 28, 2005
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or
Reform Their Government The Right Upon Which All Other Rights
To Outshine All
Politics in South Dakota
Ron Branson, National J.A.I.L.
Every two years among the fifty states around the
nation, politicians line up for competitive races
for various seats up for grab. Ordinarily the
competitive seats of interest are for governor, congressional seats,
or U.S. senate. However in South Dakota the political scene appears
to be drawing away from "who" is on the ballot, to
"what" is on the ballot, namely,
The interest of South Dakotans in judicial accountability is
showing signs of overshadowing the candidates and their platform
issues so as to give their candidacy little to no attention.
This tends to give the candidates a reason to take
sides on the judicial question of interest before the
voters next November in hopes that their position will
assure their re-election, or defeat the incumbent and sweep
them into office. In other words, the outcome of the
election for governor in South Dakota may very
well be determined not on the parties, or the
candidate running for governor, but rather on where the
candidate stands. This, of course, opens a door of
opportunity for alternative party candidates should their
position be opposite that of their opponents, which would
be revealed in their debates with one another.
have long stated that once J.A.I.L. hits the ballot in any
state, it will become the hottest issue in the history of
initiative ballots across this country. There is no doubt that the
entire nation will be watching the 2006 election in South
Our thanks to David Kranz for his excellent article
published in the Argus Leader, and encourage everyone to write and
~ ~ ~
Judicial review issue
likely to spark more debate than '06
Article Published: 12/27/05, 3:05 am
There are plenty of uncertainties in South Dakota politics as a
new year approaches.
Most significant is the lack of a Republican who comes close to being
a threat to Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth.
On the Democrat side, they have Ron Volesky committed to challenge
Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, but rumblings continue about others
entering that race.
And there is still discontent with Rounds by some state senators in
his own party.
That dissatisfaction has not translated into a primary challenge,
Spin forward to 2006, and you will likely conclude that the U.S.
House and governor's races are not going to set South Dakota on fire
In fact, the most spirited of the campaigns will not likely be for a
candidate, but for a ballot issue - the Judicial Accountability
Initiative Law that will be first offered to voters in South
Bill Stegmeier of Tea, the local spokesman for the initiative,
submitted an explanation of the ballot issue to the Secretary of
State along with the petitions.
It says in part: "Simply put, J.A.I.L. will make the Judicial Branch
of our state government answerable and accountable to no entity other
than itself. The entity that this amendment creates is a Special
Grand Jury, comprised of ordinary South Dakota citizens who are
empowered to hear complaints of judicial misconduct.
"If, after careful investigation including testimony from both the
complainant and the Judge, the Special Grand Jury finds for the
complainant, the ‘judicial immunity' from lawsuit will be set aside,
thereby allowing the complainant to sue the Judge for damages."
Stegmeier says passage will lead to an honorable and accountable
judiciary today and for future generations and inspire citizens from
other states to restore integrity and accountability to the entire
E-mail communications from the national group supporting the measure
say they are preparing for a difficult road.
Most recently, a supporter of the cause, David Estes of Vashon,
Wash., offered "serious information," saying this campaign will not
be a social picnic.
"For our part, we need to give support wherever and whenever we can.
Communicate your support and, above all, go to South Dakota and get
"This is not going to be a social picnic. I hope you all begin to
understand how mean and vicious this campaign will become," he
Estes encouraged volunteering to combat money from lawyers.
David Kranz's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Write
to him at the Argus Leader, P.O. Box 5034, Sioux Falls, SD