A State Court and the Citizens of the State

In last month’s elections, one of the ballot items was a South Dakota measure (apologies: the Argus Leader has a really intrusive set of popup ads) to limit

how much PACs, political parties, and individuals can give to candidates.

The measure passed by a slim 51%-49% margin, but nevertheless, the passage is by the voice of the citizens of that State.  The article at the link gives a summary of those limits.

Now a South Dakota judge has issued an injunction against implementing or enforcing that law.  Circuit Judge Mark Barnett, in issuing the injunction, acknowledged that the matter likely will end up before the South Dakota Supreme Court, and he said

This is just a stop on the bus route.  This is going to a much higher power and a much higher pay grade than me.

Never mind that it’s already been to the much higher pay grade—the good citizens of the State of South Dakota, whose employee the State’s government, including the court system, is.

Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard and his Chief of Staff, Tony Venhuizen, have the beginnings of a hazy understanding of the larger issue at hand.  Daugaard said that he’d

support rolling back the measure if it isn’t struck down in court[]

and Venhuizen said that

[t]he governor views the order as a good step that will give the courts and the Legislature time to sort out the “mess [in the current campaign funding system.]”

But only the beginnings of a hazy understanding.  Whether the law passed by the citizens is a good idea or not is a legitimately debatable question.  However, the matter is a political question and only a political question.  The courts have no role to play whatsoever in this or any political discussion.

Here is a case where a court has said the people have no voice; the court speaks in their stead.

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