Jim Holbeck, one of the plaintiffs suing to block Amendment C for violating the single-subject rule, says the Second Circuit Court’s acquiescence to the Attorney General’s ignoring of a legally served summons is one more example of South Dakota’s one-party corruption:
Last week, a motion for default judgment was denied after the South Dakota Attorney General’s office successfully argued it would not accept being notified of the lawsuit by certified mail.
“It seems like the connections are thick in this state and that people end up scratching each other’s backs. That’s what happened here,” Holbeck told KELOLAND News. “It’s a shame that we play these games to stall things so that we cannot make these decisions when we need to make them” [Eric Mayer, “‘That’s Not Democracy’: Lawmaker Concerned About Amendment C Legal Challenges,” KELO-TV, 2022.04.25].
Holbeck also nicely nutshells his legal argument as a reason every South Dakotan should vote against Amendment C:
“I’m not on the Supreme Court, obviously, but they looked at the marijuana law and they said that had two different subject matters on it,” Holbeck, a former government teacher and Harrisburg superintendent, said. “By golly, there’s no doubt in my mind this has two subject matters on it.”
The language of Amendment C on the ballot says it would require a 60% threshold for future ballot measures “imposing taxes or fees or obligating over $10 million.”
“It says either raising taxes or spending money,” Holbeck said. “People could be for one or the other. I think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This is just wrong” [Mayer, 2022.04.25].
I’m no fan of the single-subject rule for constitutional amendments that Republicans proposed and voters approved in 2018. The single-subject rule is an infinitely malleable and possibly unconstitutional standard that gives the Republicans one more weapon to wield in their war on initiative and referendum. But as long as the single-subject rule remains the law of the land, folks like Holbeck and his co-plaintiff David Owen are free use it to beat back bad Republican ideas like requiring a 60% vote to pass fiscal ballot measures. Perhaps all those voters who supported the single-subject rule four years ago will show up at the polls over the next 40 days and provide the summary judgment against Amendment C that the corrupted court declined to issue.