South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Friday, February 21, 2003  

The Sioux Falls protest against Tom Daschle's filibuster of the Estrada nomination gets a write-up in today's Argus Leader by Democratic-coddler David Kranz. Dan Pfeiffer, a Daschle staffer, says there's "more to the story" and, in true communications director form proceeds to subtract from clarity:

"[Miguel Estrada] has failed to provide the Senate with basic pieces of information. If Mr. Estrada would do that, Sen. Daschle would be glad to schedule a vote."

The White House also is party to concealing requested information, he said.

"No one would consider hiring someone for a job without an interview, and that is essentially what the White House is asking," Pfeiffer said.

David Kranz, in his usual balanced form, fails to report the Republican response to the Pfeiffer/Daschle canard that background information on Miguel Estrada has not been forthcoming and is being "concealed." The "background information" Daschle is requesting is confidential Department of Justice memoranda in which Estrada provided appeal, certiorari, and amicus recommendations while he was a career attorney in the Office of Solicitor General. All living former Solicitors General (four Democrats and three Republicans) have strongly opposed Daschle's request for Solicitor General memoranda and stated that it would sacrifice and compromise the ability of the Justice Department to effectively represent the United States in court. It would be akin to a lawyer violating the attorney-client privilege by revealing confidential information, which is the unforgivable sin in the legal world. Also, according to the White House letter linked below, the Senate has not requested memos such as these for any of the 67 appeals court nominees since 1977 who had previously worked in the Justice Department (including the seven nominees who had previously worked in the Solicitor General's office). Of course, Dave Kranz fails to report these pesky facts, and lets Pfeiffer get away with a throw-away quote. And it's not as if Dave Kranz is unaware of the Republican response. Since Dave knows and reports about the letter sent to the White House by Senator Leahy, he knows about and fails to report White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales' letter in response. Why does Dave Kranz omit this important part of the story? Is he just a bad reporter who simply cannot round up all of the relevant facts? That may be part of it, but mainly, the problem is that it's devastating to Daschle's case, and in the Kranz world, that is something that cannot be allowed to happen.

posted by Jason | 6:51 PM

Thursday, February 20, 2003  

Here's an interesting feature on the demographics of the Indian reservations in South Dakota.

posted by Jason | 9:14 AM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003  

Here's a study that John Thune will need to digest if he decides to take on Tom Daschle in 2004.

posted by Jason | 10:21 AM

The voter fraud investigation has brought the issue of tribal sovereignty and the Supreme Court opinion in Nevada v. Hicks into focus. Here's the view of Nevada v. Hicks by the eminent Indian Law scholar at the University of South Dakota Law School. Excerpt:

The [Supreme] Court has also greatly muted its recognition of tribal sovereignty as a core element of the treaty relationship. The Court has increasingly - though not absolutely - required some kind of congressional authorization to support tribal authority over non-Indians (especially on fee land) in the run of cases from Montana v. United States (1981) through Nevada v. Hicks (2001). Treaty discussion in these cases is sparse to non-existent.

The critical point is not simply to point out - as others already have - the Supreme Court’s waivering, perhaps fatally fading, recognition of tribal sovereignty involving non-Indians, but rather to challenge tribes and the Indian law community to undertake new and creative ways of renovating the meaning and importance of treaties for contemporary Indian law and politics.

posted by Jason | 10:01 AM

Which headline is misleading?

Federal judge clears way to restart voter fraud case


Judge refuses injunction in standoff over voter fraud

When I saw the latter headline, I was immediately confused. I thought the judge had refused the injunction because the tribe had backed down, making the issue moot. The former headline is much more clear, and states the bottom line. While both headlines are true, the latter headline is extremely misleading. You get the immediate impression in the latter headline that the state didn't get what it wanted. The Argus gets its spin in again.

posted by Jason | 9:23 AM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003  

While I've been distrustful of Senator John McCain on core Republican issues since the South Carolina primary in 2000, he's just redeemed himself:

Saying he was concerned that public criticism of President Bush by former U.S. leaders was damaging to America's interests, Sen. John McCain, R. Ariz., told ex-presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on Tuesday to "shut up!"

posted by Jason | 10:04 PM

There are new developments in the voter fraud investigation. Suddenly, in front of a federal judge, the tribe realized it made a mistake in kicking investigators off the rez. I'm actually surprised the tribe caved this quickly. But maybe they came to their senses. Like I said in an earlier post, if this case were to go to court, it would only further erode tribal sovereignty. I wonder if Maka Duta is as giddy now as she was a few weeks ago?

posted by Jason | 7:33 PM

Here's an asinine letter to the editor. You may recall that the writer of this letter was parading down 41st Street in Sioux Falls with an upside-down American flag at a recent pro-Saddam rally. And he has the temerity to say what patriotic Americans should do. In contrast to this vapid asininity, read what an Iraqi expatriate recently wrote, despite some misgivings about America's foreign policy, to Prime Minister Tony Blair:

I want to ask those who support the anti - "war" movement (apart from pacifists - that is a totally different situation) their motives and reasoning behind such support. You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq. I must ask you to consider the following questions:

Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?
Out of a population of 20 million, 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their country during Saddam's reign. Are you willing to ignore the real and present danger that caused so many people to leave their homes and families?
Saddam rules Iraq using fear - he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever - this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard pressed to find a family in Iraq who have not had a son/father/brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or "disappeared" due to Saddam's regime. What has been stopping you from taking to the streets to protest against such blatant crimes against humanity in the past?
Saddam gassed thousands of political prisoners in one of his campaigns to "cleanse" prisons - why are you not protesting against this barbaric act?
An example of the dictator's policy you are trying to save - Saddam has made a law to give excuse to any man to rape a female relative and then murder her in the name of adultery. Do you still want to march to keep him in power?
I remember when I was around 8 I went along with my father to a demonstration against the French embassy when the French were selling Saddam weapons. I know of the numerous occasions my father and many, many others haves attended various meetings, protests and exhibitions that call for the end of Saddam's reign. I have attended the permanent rally against Saddam that has been held every Saturday in Trafalgar Square for the past 5 years. The Iraqi people have been protesting for YEARS against the war - the war that Saddam has waged against them. Where have you been?

Why is it now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America's policy in Iraq, when it is actually right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this email?

posted by Jason | 1:31 PM

Here's a delightful editorial in today's Washington Post castigating the Democrats for their tactics with the nomination of Miguel Estrada.

posted by Jason | 9:39 AM

The protest in front of Daschle's office in Sioux Falls today has been postponed. The Rally for America in Vermillion is still on.

posted by Jason | 9:06 AM

Monday, February 17, 2003  

Majority Leader Frist is wussing out on the Estrada nomination, the first true test of his leadership. Apparently he was ready to give up on the nomination and scurry home with his tail between his legs. I'm seeing shades of Trent Lott and Bob Dole here. Republicans can't seem to find congressional leadership as hard-nosed as Tom Daschle. Fortunately, the administration has the balls to take Daschle on, and they've already defeated him on numerous occasions, the most recent being the last election. As I said here before, if Tom Daschle wins this battle, he might as well be the majority leader.

posted by Jason | 3:03 PM

Tom Daschle was in Arkansas recently (Arkansas?), and here's how he responded to a local reporter's questions regarding Iraq.

posted by Jason | 2:42 PM

It looks like tomorrow (Tuesday, February 18) is a big protest day for Republicans. Here in Vermillion, there will be a rally at noon to support the troops and the liberation of Iraq. In Sioux Falls, there will be a protest at noon for judicial nominee Miguel Estrada in front of Tom Daschle's office. Be at one of these if you can.

posted by Jason | 2:29 PM

Now that he's been reelected, will Tim Johnson support the new Bush tax cut, as he supported the first Bush tax cut two years ago? Not on your life. As seen here, he's already trotted out the tried-and-true Democratic theme:

At a hearing last week, Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, one of those who voted for the tax cuts two years ago, said, "Frankly, I am appalled at the president's recklessness in proposing a massive tax cut for the rich."

posted by Jason | 2:22 PM

Sunday, February 16, 2003  

My good friend, law school colleague, and fellow SDP blogger, Joel Arends, has sent a wink-and-nod message indicating that he and his Guard unit are en route to the Middle East. I think it's safe to say that Iraq will soon be free.

posted by Jason | 8:26 PM

This photo says all that need be said about the peace creeps.

posted by Jason | 5:30 PM

David Kranz scribbles another inadequte column today. An obvious shortcoming of the article is its discussion of the presence of Jew-hater Jim Abourezk in four recently published books. The next logical step would be to list the books. But Dave doesn't give us a list of the books! I for one would like to know what books they are. Oh well, my expectations were low anyway. As for Abourezk, his 1990 interview with Brian Lamb of C-Span aired this morning. Here is a transcript of the interview. For background on Jim Abourezk and his protege, Senator Tom Daschle, read this piece. Excerpt:

Sen. Abourezk's parents were Lebanese, and he considered the Arab-Israeli conflict his top priority. Though he campaigned largely on farm issues back in South Dakota, he quickly established a reputation in Washington as the go-to guy for any group with an ax to grind against Israel—so much so that one radio commentator dubbed him "the Senator from Saudi Dakota." Sometimes his battles were petty, like his attempt to pressure the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of the United Jewish Appeal (a charitable organization similar to the United Way), or his vote against confirming Henry Kissinger as America's first Jewish Secretary of State.

But other battles challenged the most basic assumptions of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Mr. Abourezk called the Israeli government "terrorist" and consistently opposed arms sales to Tel Aviv. He called for recognition of the PLO and embraced Syrian President Hafez Assad, a major sponsor of international terrorism. (Later, during the Gulf War, the former senator even compared Israel to Nazi Germany: "Israel has been grabbing land since 1948, and I don't know how you call it self-defense.... Hitler said he took Czechoslovakia in self-defense, you know.")

posted by Jason | 3:03 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias