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Curtail First Amendment, Lose Taxpayer Dollars to Lawyers

Taxpayers continue to lose money on the state’s persistent violations of the First Amendment. The State of South Dakota has to pay the lawyers who saved naughty license plates:

The state will pay just over $78,000 in total to cover the legal fees for Hart and the ACLU of South Dakota, which called the settlement a victory for free speech when it was announced earlier this month.

The document ordering the payment was signed by U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange on Tuesday [John Hult, “State, Minnehaha County Agree to Pay Legal Fees After Separate First Amendment Lawsuit Losses,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.12.27].

Embarrassing election-denying auditor Leah Anderson also cost her county a five-figure lawyer bill when she tried to help her radical anti-abortionist friends by banning Roe v. Wade petition circulators from most of the courthouse grounds in Sioux Falls:

On Tuesday, the Minnehaha County Commission voted to authorize the county to pay about $54,800 to Dakotans for Health to cover that organization’s legal fees [Hult, 2023.12.27].

You know, if you Republican honchos took the First Amendment as seriously as you take the Second, you wouldn’t find yourselves in such costly messes. Speech is more sacred (and useful and necessary to democracy) than all your little bang-bangs.


  1. LCJ 2023-12-28 09:04

    Yet you want to block Trump for using his 1st amendment rights.
    Can’t have it both ways.

  2. Dicta 2023-12-28 09:10

    Speaking of Trump, here is more quality content for Cory’s site, which he seems to love so much.

    In the dimly lit corridors of political power, rumors began to circulate about a rising star in the political arena. Whispers of a puppetry unseen by the public eye suggested that Trump was not the master of his destiny but rather a marionette manipulated by the nefarious Hollywood director, Harvey Weinstein and his clan of ninja chameleons. Weinstein, known for his dark influence behind the scenes, allegedly sought to exploit Trump’s political prowess for a sinister agenda.

    The clandestine puppet-mastering extended beyond the political stage, as rumors hinted at a grand design to harness the power and influence that came with Trump’s next term. Whispers insinuated that Weinstein harbored ambitions beyond the silver screen – a twisted plan to assemble an army of concubines under the guise of political authority. The public remained blissfully unaware of this malevolent plot, captivated by Weinstein’s charismatic speeches and seemingly noble endeavors.

    As the election drew near, the shadows deepened around Trump, raising questions about the authenticity of his actions and the influence of ninja chameleons. Some speculated about his sudden shifts in policy and unexpected alliances, wondering if these were orchestrated by unseen hands pulling the strings from the shadows. Yet, the truth remained elusive, and the electorate remained unaware of the puppetry that might be shaping their political landscape.

    In the end, whether Trump is a willing participant or an unwitting victim in this dark conspiracy remained uncertain. As the public braced for the upcoming election, the truth behind the whispers of Trump and Weinstein’s sinister plan lingered, waiting to be unveiled in the complex dance of politics and deception.

  3. e platypus onion 2023-12-28 09:22

    Yet you want to block Trump for using his 1st amendment rights.
    Can’t have it both ways.

    Jack Smith is trying to block drumpf’s use of conspiracy theory lies in his election trial. No one is entitled, like magats apparently think, to lie under oath as if their lies were gospel. drumpf is a proven, pathological liar and so are magat election deniers. They should be regarded as liars and summarily dismissed.

  4. Eve Fisher 2023-12-28 09:28

    Re “Yet you want to block Trump for using his 1st amendment rights.”
    Yes, it’s all about states’ rights until a state does something the GOP doesn’t want them to do.
    Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution explains that the States have the primary authority over election administration, the “times, places, and manner of holding elections”. They can decide who gets on the ballot and who doesn’t, based on the Constitution, and Colorado chose to interpret the 14th Amendment strictly.

  5. LCJ 2023-12-28 09:37

    Trump will be president again and Biden and son will be charged.
    And then you will have the opportunity to scream at the sky again.

  6. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-28 09:38

    In my mind, the concept of free speech is rather murky. To me,
    certain speech is totally inappropriate in certain situations. If the concept of
    free speech is taken to the extreme, there would be no such thing
    as hate speech etc., there would be no restrictions on the use of racial slurs.
    There would be no such thing as good taste.

  7. larry kurtz 2023-12-28 09:40

    Error 1: Several other courts have ruled that Trump is not disqualified. Error 2: Disqualification isn’t likely or right because it would take the decision away from the people. Error 3: Disqualifying Trump would violate due process. Error 4: Disqualification is a terrible strategy for the Democrats, since Trump can use it to build support. Error 5: There is no chance the conservative Supreme Court will rule against Trump.

  8. Eve Fisher 2023-12-28 09:49

    Excellent article, Larry.
    Plus: “The courts shouldn’t decide elections!” Great, let’s rescind SCOTUS’ decision in Bush v. Gore.

  9. larry kurtz 2023-12-28 09:53

    Good morning, Ms. Fisher. As we circle back to the events of 11 September, 2001 it’s important to remember that had SCOTUS actually heard Bush v. Gore and ruled for Al Gore rather than upholding Jeb’s secretary of state (massive election fraud in Ohio notwithstanding) the entire head-lopping W performed on the chain of command would have been avoided. And, when you’re appointed POTUS by your brother(s) or your father, you lop all the heads of those with whom you do not agree when you come to office because you’re focused on deposing Saddam, the winner of the first Gulf War. CIA analysts were threatening to resign ahead of the event as the Bush cabal bobbled the ball.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-12-28 09:57

    There is little doubt in my mind that damning evidence linking the Trump Organization to Russia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond was destroyed on 9/11. It’s impossible the Obama Administration didn’t know Donald Trump was being installed by a hostile government.

  11. Jeff Barth 2023-12-28 10:40

    What about the 14th Amendment?

  12. Richard Schriever 2023-12-28 10:46

    LCJ – the first amendment does not allow one to LIE in COURT, nor does it apply to the commission of crimes, or in cases of committing libelous or slanderous torts. For those things – there are penalties. BTW – how do you and the rest of your Republican book-banning brigade figure they are protecting ANYONE’s first amendment rights?? Or do “rights” only accrue to those you favor?

  13. DaveFN 2023-12-28 10:46

    Edwin Arndt

    “If the concept of free speech is taken to the extreme, there would be no such thing
    as hate speech etc., there would be no restrictions on the use of racial slurs.”

    Argualy, restrictions on speech exist precisely because the concept of free speech includes, not excludes, those extremes.

  14. Richard Schriever 2023-12-28 10:56

    LCJ – “2: Disqualification isn’t likely or right because it would take the decision away from the people. ” Is itself an erroneous understanding of the source of the decision-making authority as to qualification for the office of the presidency. You conflate qualification with election here. Qualifications is STRICTLY determined by the constitution. VEREY FEW people are not constitutionally qualified, but they are far more numerous to those elected. Election is a MUCH HIGHER BAR to qualification and the position put here is a political tactic argument that is RAISING the bar for qualification inappropriately and unconstitutionally.

  15. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-28 10:57

    Well, arguably, free speech that includes restrictions would not be free,
    but a contradiction in terms. I remember reading somewhere that at one
    time bible scholars argued about how many angels could dance
    on the head of a pin, but I have other things to do today.

  16. jerry 2023-12-28 10:57

    LCJ, whatabout Hunter’s laptop? I suppose that after you and Marge traitor Green checked the photo’s, that was it for you. What a voyeur, you rascal.

  17. larry kurtz 2023-12-28 13:26

    Good afternoon, Jerry. I trust the Republican Party about as far as I can throw a Caterpillar D6.

  18. Donald Pay 2023-12-28 14:02

    If someone thinks his or her free speech has been curtailed, the courts are open for all to present facts and make arguments. That is what happened in the courts in South Dakota. Trump can certainly sue if he wants, but he’s not serious about his claims, so he doesn’t. He wants to whine, so he can wheedle more money from his cult of fools. Making a claim on “Untruth Unsocial” that one’s free speech has been taken away amounts to naught, except it allows him to rake in money from his Alzheimer-inflicted followers. It’s a lucrative scam, but Trump knows well that there’s a fool born every minute. Funny how they all end up in his cult.

  19. Richard Schriever 2023-12-28 14:44

    Edwin, you have the right to SAY anything you wish. That is not = you have a right to be heard, or that you have a right to be free from the consequences of what you might say.

  20. jerry 2023-12-28 15:31

    I trust them less than that. American russian followers of old stink butt.

  21. All Mammal 2023-12-28 18:04

    The movie, Leave the World Behind had an interesting story that I thought pointed at something we definitely should take heed to. Whites on Fox and basement boy podcasters hated on it because it was executively produced by Michelle and Barak Obama. So of course, it was racist to snowflake, putinboy trumpskins.

    Freedom of speech. Period. Poom.
    Possibly, the more we make things complicated and add on exceptions and caveats, the more weird stuff is going to happen. Perhaps when there are less restrictions, and there is no line to cross, there won’t be constant disputes and efforts spent on pushing on both sides of the line. Threats, hate, and slander just need to fall under a separate definition so it isn’t considered speech;)

  22. grudznick 2023-12-28 18:21

    Wait, Mr. President Obama and his wife wrote that movie?

    grudznick was made to watch the movie over the holidays with a gaggle of youngsters. It was an interesting movie, up until the end where it sort of punted on 3rd down because it seemed like they ran out of neato ideas. Mr. President Obama wrote the first half pretty well, but he really dried up there at the end. I do hope he keeps writing movies. It seems a good use of his abundant time these days.

  23. e platypus onion 2023-12-28 18:50

    Naturally, Goatzilla is wrong!

    Leave the World Behind is a 2023 American apocalyptic psychological thriller film written and directed by Sam Esmail. It is based on the 2020 novel by Rumaan Alam.

  24. e platypus onion 2023-12-28 19:03

    Biden and his son have already been charged without a single shred of credible evidence. However, with the magat controlled courts in red states plus the SCOTUS, a bunch of grapes could be indicted for high crimes.

  25. scott 2023-12-28 19:12


    I suggest you research the 1st amendment and its limitations.

    No right can be 100%. Rights have to be a balancing act so that all people have some degree of rights without infringing on others.

  26. Todd Epp 2023-12-28 19:12

    I’m waiting for Constitutional Scholar The Zit to weigh in before I decide who is right on this important point. Perhaps the precincts get to decide what is and isn’t free speech?

  27. grudznick 2023-12-28 19:19

    No, I just read here, Mr. Mike, that Mr. President Obama wrote that movie, and I think he is writing more. He is not writing any movies about Iowa, from whence you hail, however. He might focus on Maine, as kind of a niche. Like, maybe every movie he writes will be based in Maine. That would be a unique signature move for him.

  28. Todd Epp 2023-12-28 19:22

    Grudz, I hear Barack is writing about your breakfast club. It’s working title is “Grudz, Eggs, and Politics.” It will be introduced by your good friend, The Zit.

  29. grudznick 2023-12-28 19:57

    I hope in the appendix there are some old family gravy recipes. And a pictorial section in the middle of the book, where it naturally falls open as one thumbs the book while eating the usual precursor English muffins with marmalade and heavy butter.

  30. e platypus onion 2023-12-28 20:06

    Heard a rumour Christmas Eve a Soo Falls used car salesman dressed up as Rudolph and was greeting male guests outside a precinct house when cops drove by and busted everyone for running a brothel. Rumour has it the glowing red nose gave it away. This may or may not be true. Happy Holidays to all except magats.

  31. All Mammal 2023-12-29 07:18

    The Obamas were the movie’s executive producers. That is why some Fox hosts cried about it being too racist for them. Jerry’s russian putin dinkuses comment reminded me of exactly what Putin’s propaganda is doing around here; convincing South Dakotans that there are kitty litter boxes in schools for the cat furries.

    It’s warfare.

    There are two types of people. Ones who are able to recognize propaganda and those who can’t.

  32. Richard Schriever 2023-12-29 10:32

    grudz – what was written here was that they PRODUCED the movie, not that they wrote it. You obviously are unfamiliar with precisely what function in filmmaking is delineated by what title of types of participant (job title, if you will). Thye producer(s) of a movie is a person/persons/entity that recognizes a good idea in some written work or other source (could even be just a conversation, a news story on TV, etc.) sand then COORDINATES the various artists, crafts-people and financiers and sometimes provides their own financing as well in order to get to an end product. Think of the role as like that of the CEO, or COO of a business. That is vastly different to writing. Back to school for you.

  33. JW 2023-12-29 12:02

    Republicans don’t think, they don’t plan, they avoid all thoughts of cause and effect, and oppressive government is their best friend as long as they can define it, manage it and use it to cover for their breeches of ethics, law and civic responsibility. And worst of all, they won’t measure or evaluate their attempts at civil service with any honesty or integrity until they are forced to. Then, they’ll find somebody else to blame for their departures from legal, ethical and moral integrity and declare their behavior to be a necessary cost of doing business. What we need is statutory directive that places the full financial liability on the individuals and groups that invite these lawsuits rather than the average taxpayer that has no ability to dissuade partisan control freaks from trampling liberty and civic decency.

  34. Loti 2023-12-30 16:52

    Too much talk of Trump this and Trump that. I will be glad when the elections are done. We either survive or do not survive under his presidency.

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