South Dakotans lost today when the South Dakota Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Stephanie Strong of Rapid City over a circuit judge’s decision to change the venue of her lawsuit seeking to demand that the Secretary of State remove GOP Representative Brian Gosch from the ballot on election day because he violated the law in notarizing his own candidate petitions.
Yes, you read that correctly. Current State Representative Brian Gosch (District 32), an attorney, broke the law by notarizing the signature of a person who circulated his nominating petitions earlier this year. Of this, there is no doubt. The petitions are public record for all to see. The law is public record for all to see. Even the SD Supreme Court did not say that he wasn’t guilty of the offense which illegally put Gosch on the ballot. The Court said that Strong’s lawsuit came too late in the election process.
In fact, it was not a lawsuit at all, but a Writ of Mandamus to require Secretary of State Jason Gant to remove Gosch from the ballot as prescribed by law because he had violated the law in submitting unacceptable nominating petitions.
Let’s just recap this whole sordid fiasco. Brian Gosch, a practicing attorney in the State of South Dakota, submitted nominating petitions to the galactically incompetent Secretary of State who, of course, accepted them despite the fact that the violation was pointed out to Gosch. Gosch apparently patted Jason on the head and explained that it was really acceptable for him to do that. Apparently, some laws don’t apply to a Gosch.
Now consider that this preferential, selective enforcement of the law has caused others to ignore, deny or extend the violation of due process. Regretably, Attorney General Marty Jackley apparently has joined the defense of a fellow barrister by declaring that he sees no violation that any commoner can see in reading the law and examining the evidence.
Then, even justices have declined to stand firm for truth and due process. Several recused themselves from signing the Writ of Mandamus filed by Stephanie Strong. And when Judge Mandel signed it before consulting with the “Good Old Boy” network, there was hope of justice being served. But alas, Chicago Style back room political influence prevailed……and all the way to the SD Supreme Court. The stench of political slime wafts pervasively.
South Dakotans lost today. But I gained a respect for Mrs. Strong, who stood in the breach on behalf of decency and due process. Thank you, Stephanie. Carry on.
***Ed Randazzo, is a nationally recognized author. He has been a conservative activist and consultant for over 30 years and is currently the Chief News Editor of Life and Liberty Media and Co-Producer of Liberty Today, a weekly television program seen on cable systems in most of South Dakota***