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Rounds Not Hunting for Justice; Supreme Court Deadlocks on Death Penalty Stay

Mike Rounds gets a statue of himself and a hunting dog in Pierre this year. That will be appropriate, since visitors will be able to drive by the stone canine, say, “That dog don’t hunt,” and effectively summarize Mike Rounds’s legacy as Governor and Senator.

Rounds’s continued refusal to do his job in Washington leaves the Supreme Court short-staffed. The absence of a ninth Justice has resulted in another 4–4 deadlock, this time on an appeal of a stay of Vernonr Madison’s execution in Alabama. In a literal matter of life and death, the Supreme Court is unable to take a final action.

Now maybe I shouldn’t complain: a liberal like me should be happy that this deadlock broke in favor of liberal opposition to the death penalty and stopped Alabama from unnecessarily killing a man. Merrick Garland’s position on the death penalty is unclear; were he on the court, he just might side with pro-death penalty justices and allow Alabama to execute Madison.

But our political agendae should take a backseat to our common desire for a properly functioning government. I would rather have a full Supreme Court and take my chances on a justice who might vote against me than a Supreme Court hamstrung by foolish political games.

Hunters didn’t shoot as many pheasants in South Dakota as Game Fish and Parks expected. I know Mike Rounds would like to spend more time back home helping raise that count, and come 2020, we’ll be happy to unelect him so he can have more time to hunt. But in the mean time, Senator Rounds should be setting his sights on getting things done in Washington. Let’s fill that ninth seat on the big bench.


  1. mike from iowa 2016-05-14 09:07

    I believe Pfizer announced recently they will no longer make drugs for lethal injections.

    My sinator Grassley sent me a newsletter patting himself and all wingnuts on the back for being so bi-partisan in getting judicial nominees in place and passing legislation this congress. Maybe he wants Al Franken’s old job at SNL.

  2. bearcreekbat 2016-05-14 11:40

    To me, the 4-4 vote is a silver lining in this particular case. It really is time to reconsidering allowing our States to execute people who are already incapacitated.

  3. Mark Winegar 2016-05-14 12:12

    What has Mike “dog that don’t hunt” Rounds ever done for South Dakota? EB-5? GEAR UP? What else?

  4. Roger Elgersma 2016-05-14 14:36

    As far as the supreme court goes, why should we put someone in and then sit back and just hope they do a good job. If they are such principled people with such consistency to be absolutely good at making decisions, then they should also be honest enough to tell us what their opinions are on death penalty, workers rights, abortion, citizens united an etc. before they expect any responsible Senator to vote for them. This bait and switch crap while they pompously act as if they are above reproach is simply not being responsible and not allowing the Senate to make responsible votes. Let them over work themselves until they learn to be honest.

  5. Roger Elgersma 2016-05-14 14:42

    As far as the dog that does not hunt, I remember Rounds saying the last year he was governor that they had learned how to manage the dam by Pierre. It had been twenty feet to low for a while and then it rained enough that South Dakota had no droughts for two years and the water in the dam went up. So he took credit for filling the dam. A year later he is out of being gov and the rain came again and flooded his own new home. He built there because in his mind he had controlled the situation. But now a few months ago he is on public TV bashing the corp of Engineers for still not finding out how to manage the dam. He blamed them for not asking for more money. The more we listen to politicians the more it does not make sense. They seem to think no one remembers what they said last year. And Rounds makes it sound like Washington is where they do not think right.

  6. mike from iowa 2016-05-14 15:02

    Roger E- only Liberals have litmus tests for Scotus nominees. We have all heard this ad nauseum. Then wingnuts claim they want strict constructionists who will interpret the constitution as written because wingnuts claim it is a static, unchanging document.

    Strict constructionist means, in wingnut speak, anti-abortion,pro guns, pro business, anti workers,anti union, pro religion(especially in schools), anti-equal rights, pro campaign financing with zero limits and anonymity for donors, anti 4th amendment, anti-10th and 14 th amendments, etc,etc. None of these are to be considered litmus tests for conservatives.

  7. bearcreekbat 2016-05-14 17:57

    Roger E, I think your statement “The more we listen to politicians the more it does not make sense,” might be misplaced analysis. To paraphrase my late grandfather, “There are politicians and there are politicians.” Stereotyping groups is always tempting but really weakens one’s analysis.

    But I would agree that “The more we listen to [Mike Rounds, Kristi Noem and John Thune], the more it does not make sense.” This not because they are politicians, it is because their actions and their meaningless comments usually make little sense for South Dakotans.

  8. barry freed 2016-05-15 08:13

    A lawyer graduates from a respected Law School. They clerk for a Judge whose name is known. They perfect their craft and learn through Constitutional and Personal Rights disputes and after many years, they become a Judge themselves. They move up the judicial ladder to Judge in Federal Appeals and District Courts to finally become a Justice on the Highest Court in the land.

    So if these people are so dammed smart about the Framers, Civil Rights, and the Constitution, why are their decisions always evenly split? Even untrained laymen can see many (or most) of the SCOTUS decisions are not based on Civil Rights. but on popular opinion.

    The Death Penalty should be a no-brainer. We can’t take life because we can’t give it back if a mistake has been made.

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