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Violating Constitution Costs Taxpayers; Local Paper Thanks Plaintiff for Defending Voter Rights

The editorial board of my local board uses the state’s twin losses in court (IM 24 last May; 2019 HB 1094 this month) over the Republican machine’s effort to hamstring initiative and referendum to warn the voters and the Legislature to think twice before violating the Constitution:

South Dakota taxpayers are on the hook for about $115,000 in attorney fees after approving an initiated measure we were warned could be declared unconstitutional.

And another bill is likely headed our way.

…“Neither the state Legislature nor the majority of voters are allowed to pass laws that violate the Constitution without risking the possibility that those oppressed by the measure will expend attorney’s fees challenging it, and, upon success, be entitled to reimbursement,” Kornmann wrote in his decision [awarding attorney fees to plaintiffs in SD Voice v. Noem I].

…When we pass measures that buck the Constitution, it appears the cost is going to be passed along to us.

That’s not wrong. And it’s something to be mindful of the next time we head to the polls with a warning that a ballot measure will likely wind up in court because it might unconstitutional [editorial, “Approving Unconstitutional Measures Comes with a Cost {paywall},” Aberdeen American News, 2020.01.18].

The editors also commend the local resident who successfully challenged the state with both lawsuits:

SD Voice, a grassroots ballot question committee operated by Cory Heidelberger of Aberdeen, was involved in both lawsuits, and Heidelberger is to be commended for his work on behalf of South Dakota voters. While he likes to poke the bear — generally Republicans, the state’s majority party — he was right in both of these instances [editorial, AAN, 2020.01.18].

Thank you, AAN editors; I am happy to serve.

A week and a half after their second loss in one year on initiative and referendum restrictions, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and their SDGOP spin blog have yet to make any public statement on this matter. I don’t expect or need their commendation, but they could at least offer taxpayers an apology and an assurance that Republicans won’t cost them any more money with unnecessary and unconstitutional efforts to deny the voters their right to petition.


  1. mike from iowa 2020-01-20 07:46

    Alas,with the makeup of the SPOTUS and over a third of the federal judiciary dominated by extreme right wing nut jobs, soon, being unconstitutional will become unconstitutional.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-20 13:15

    Mike, that’s the game the GOP is playing. They want to do things that violate the Constitution, and they know an independent judiciary will always stand in their way. They will fight like there’s no tomorrow to keep Trump in office for this sole purpose; we must all turn out to vote for someone else to save the Constitution.

  3. Porter Lansing 2020-01-20 13:37

    It’s now common for corporate monopolies and mass political superiorities to violate now and litigate later. It’s S.O.P. among Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Samsung to steal from each other, trespass on free speech, and wait to be sued. It seems the violator always comes out ahead in the long game.
    Same thing in that depleted gene pool of ignorance in Pierre.

  4. leslie 2020-01-21 21:56

    Agreed Cory. Today the entire Senate and most of the House debate production of document supporting impeachment and Democrats’ managers and case presentment before the chief justice (time keeper) Mitch Mcconnell (‘i move tabling the Senate Amendment no ____ to my “hide all witnesses and documents”’Resolution), is devastatingly precise and coordinated and power pointed and video supplemented, for which we should all be proud. Can you imagine the short and long term costs to our Democracy from GOP circus of obstruction?

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