Lawyer vs. lawyer! What fun! Jason Glodt, the only lawyer in South Dakota who supports Amendment S, the crime victims bill of rights, went head to head with Ryan Kolbeck Thursday evening in Sioux Falls. Again, Cameraman Bruce Danielson produces the best video of the event:
Note that Glodt tries to portray his Amendment S as originating in the women’s rights movement of the 1970s and in criminal justice reforms advocated by the Reagan Administration. Glodt never mentions the real genesis of Amendment S, the vanity project of California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas, who has no known involvement with any feminist movements or the Reagan Administration. Henry T. Nicholas is simply funding political operatives around the country like Glodt to write his vanity bill into every state’s constitution.
Kolbeck notes the exclusive outside funding of Amendment S. He also co-opts Glodt’s attempt to brand Amendment S as part of some great political tradition by noting [at ~8:10 in the video] that South Dakota passed its current crime victims bill of rights in 1991, apparently in response to the concerns of the 1982 Reagan task force on crime victims. High school policy debaters will recognize and revel in this brilliant example of a postdate/inherency argument: affirmative cites old evidence calling for a solution, and negative responds with newer evidence showing that the status quo has already responded to exactly those concerns.
Also worth noting is that the Constitutional amendment called for by the 1982 task force was one sentence to be added to the Sixth Amendment: “Likewise, the victim, in every criminal prosecution shall have the right to be present and to be heard at all critical stages of judicial proceedings.” Amendment S goes far beyond that mild protection of the right to be present and heard; Amendment S asserts privacy rights that allow victims not to cooperate with law enforcement after accusing defendants of serious crimes.
Note also that Glodt’s attempt to cloak Amendment S in history doesn’t fit the facts of Henry T. Nicholas’s activism. Nicholas funded various tough-on-crime laws after he struck in rich in the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, but it appears that he didn’t push victims rights until 2008.
Amendment S isn’t part of the women’s rights movement or the Reagan revolution. It’s just Henry T. Nicholas’s vanity project, a legal mess that would put the rights of defendants—rights, as Kolbeck reminds us, enshrined by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution—in peril.