Fireworks, voting and the Supreme Court

As we do from time to time, we started discussing the latest swipe that Governor Kristi Noem took at having fireworks over Mount Rushmore, and the $230,000 price tag that came attached to the “No” verdict from federal court.

First, as far as fireworks over the memorial, it’s probably great fun. We lived 10 summers in the Black Hills and tried to go three different times.

The truth of the matter is that unless you either (A) are willing to get there at 9 a.m. and sit for more than 12 hours for the 30 minutes of “Ooos” and “Ahhs,” or (B) get a motorcade to drop you backstage a half hour before things begin, it’s probably not happening.

We watched the fireworks, twice from downtown Keystone and once - with about 1,000 of our closest friends - parked along Iron Mountain Road a dozen miles away.

I’m just saying that for me, it’s not all that and bag of chips.

But our discussion, after appropriate time spent remarking on the expenditure of the failing lawsuit, my colleague Ben suggested that perhaps there was a better way to go.


If you’ve watched any of the opening or closing ceremonies from the last two or three Olympic games, there have been some dazzling displays of programmed drones that put on an amazing show and frankly, shouldn’t pose any fire risk.

It’s possible that like many other governmental areas, drones are not allowed, but something tells me if you ask for a permit to fly a bunch of drones, it will be more warmly received than one for fireworks.

I’m sure it’s been thought of already at the highest levels of state government.

It certainly shouldn’t cost more than the $3.9 million that the 2020 display did.

And just think of the advertising revenue, if one were to have ones name programmed in whilst running for office...but I digress.

Kansas, another predominantly red state, with Republicans forecast to win nearly every statewide election, saw its voters defeat a measure that would have made abortion illegal, and by a pretty comfortable margin.

Isn’t it odd that the people who do the electing seem to have a different approach to this issue than those who have been elected? It could make one question what happens between counting the votes and the swearing in.


It also makes you wonder if the same sort of showdown is set to take place in the other states poised to take away this option for women.

The recent action by the Supreme Court, regarding firearms and abortion rights, revived the discussion about increasing the number of justices on that bench.

It’s happened before, and was attempted most lately by FDR in the 40s.

But now? Please, no.

Why have even more untouchable, unassailable people, who say one thing during confirmation hearings and then vote differently when presented with the same question? Voters cast ballots for the senators who will give a thumbs up or down on the nomination, but that gives us very little say in who serves on the high court.

Justices on the S.D. Supreme Court are also appointed, but we get to vote every so often on whether to retain a justice.

We don’t get that with the USOC. If you’re in, you’re there for life, no matter what the political climate.

So we don’t need more of them.

What could be helpful would be a deadline to appoint a justice in an election year. We’ve talked a great deal about the whiplash-causing about-face that Senate Republicans did from 2016 to 2020, when it comes to nominating to the bench.

How about July 4? If a president has not nominated a justice for an open seat on the Supreme Court by Independence Day, they are not allowed to do so before the election. If a justice passes away after July 4 and the before the next presidential inauguration, then we just have to live with eight justices for awhile.

The only problem with this plan is, of course, getting everyone who is involved in the process to play by the same rules.


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