In its first full response to arguments in SD Voice & Heidelberger v Noem, Ravnsborg, & Barnett, the State of South Dakota finds itself so hard-pressed to defend its impending unconstitutional ban on non-South Dakotans’ contributions to ballot question committees that the strongest voice it can find for its case is me:
In his own words, Plaintiff Cory Heidelberger emphasizes the damage that out-of-state contributors may have on South Dakota politics. In 2016, voters approved “Marsy’s Law,” a constitutional amendment that “expanded rights for crime victims[.]”… The enacted law had unintended consequences, such as increasing the costs for county governments…. Therefore, Constitutional Amendment Y, which was placed on South Dakota’s 2018 primary election ballot, sought to revise and clarify certain provisions of Marsy’s Law…. In opposing Amendment Y, Plaintiff Heidelberger authored the “con” statement and emphasized that: “Marsy’s Law is an abomination, graffiti scrawled across our constitution by a California billionaire who has never set foot in our state to explore or explain the need for his proposal in South Dakota.” (emphasis added). Plaintiff Heidelberger goes on to stress that if the South Dakota voters pass Amendment Y, South Dakota “will only strengthen the California billionaire’s ability to force his vanity project down the throats of other states, imposing similar untold expense on taxpayers across America just as he has done to South Dakota.” Given these statements, Plaintiffs cannot deny the significant threat that out-of-state contributors pose to South Dakota’s ballot questions and its democratic self-government [Asst. Atty. Gen. Stacy Hegge, Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, SD Voice & Heidelberger v. Noem, Ravnsborg, & Barnett, Case #1:19-cv-01003-CBK, filed 2019.04.10, p. 8].
I did say exactly those words about California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas’s vanity project and the cowardly rush repair our craven legislators crafted to save his vanity at the expense of good lawmaking. Whether those words support the state’s argument that Henry T. Nicholas, Iowans, and other strangers don’t have First Amendment rights remains to be seen… but it does amuse me to know that, either way, I’m going to win this case.
The first public hearing of this case in court, to consider enjoining the enactment of SDCL 12-27-18.2, remains on track for Friday, May 3, 10:30 a.m. in Judge Charles Kornmann’s courtroom here in Aberdeen.