January 5, 2006
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or Reform Their
The Right Upon Which All Other Rights Depend
A House Divided Cannot
A schism has
arisen in South Dakota between the federal branches of
government, namely The Judiciary vs. The Executive. The
issue: appointing power and control of the Office of U.S.
this debate is the presence of party politics on each side of the
issue. The battle was instigated when a federal judge decided to
appoint a new interim U.S. Attorney, however, the Bush Administration
says that appointments of U.S. Attorneys are not within the
prerogative of the federal courts.
South Dakota judges clash with U.S. Justice
Published: 01/4/06, 10:50 pm
A federal judge
in Sioux Falls tried to appoint Mark Meierhenry as interim U.S.
Attorney in South Dakota last month.
But Judge Larry Piersol's order was overruled by the Department of
Justice, which put an Oklahoma lawyer in place instead.
Steven Mullins, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, took
over the office on Dec. 22.
But on Tuesday, another federal judge, Karen Schreier of Rapid City,
stepped into the conflict and took the unusual step of ordering
Mullins to appear in court for a hearing on his appointment.
The unique legal clash has political overtones.
Piersol, Schreier and Judge Charles Kornmann of Aberdeen were
appointed by Democratic Pres. Bill Clinton. The Justice Department
that oversees the U.S. Attorney's Office is under the Republican Bush
Traditionally, the senator from the party in power, in this case Sen.
John Thune, forwards recommendations for the U.S. attorney's job to
the president. The office has been vacant for almost a year and Thune
has not yet made public a recommendation.
In the interim, the post has been filled by Michelle Tapken.
In a statement filed Tuesday in an unrelated criminal case, Kornmann
challenged the validity of Mullins' appointment.
"All of this brings into play some uncertainty," Kornmann wrote. "It
is entirely possible that the purported appointment of Mr. Mullins is
not valid and that he has no legal authority to act as the Acting
U.S. Attorney in South Dakota."
A number of court actions could be subject to challenge and may be
void under some circumstances, he said. "Promises to recommend a
certain sentence or to possibly make a motion may not be
For more on this story, see Thursday's Argus Leader.
minority keen to
set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one