Last Tuesday I went to the Wing Nuts weekly lunch (gavelled by Bill Napoli) at the Eagles club in Rapid City. Recently retired circuit judge Jack Delaney was the speaker. Delaney was the judge who sentenced me to 45 days in the workhouse and zippered my lips for a year with respect to cannabis advocacy.
His talk was humorous as well as contemplative. He elucidated on the typical 3-2 split in the So. Dak. Supreme Court, mentioning that if one of the three had gone the other way, which could easily have happened, on a number of cases, then, for instance, the search and seizure laws in SD would have an entirely different look.
When Delaney entered, the only available seat was next to me, and he was early, so we got to have a little chat. I might mention here that Delaney and I knew each other when he was a Spearfish lawyer and I was, among other things, a cocaine importer, supplying the needs of several folks whose names you would recognize. The first thing he said to me, after we shared a grin over the irony of the situation, was "They ought to fucking legalize marijuana."
That led to my observation that lawyers and judges should stop encouraging the prosecution of such cases and his look of astonishment that such a thing could even be considered. "We don't have any choice; it's the law."
To which I replied, "That reminds me of what the SS sergeant said; 'Personally I like you Jews, but laws is laws.'" Delaney then looked puzzled, as if I had changed the subject.
All of which brings me back to my ongoing observations (see posts going back for a few weeks) about the myth of "authority."
After Delaney's presentation, he fielded questions from the group of some 40 attendees. A woman whose name I don't know asked if there was a way we could prevent the institution of Sharia law in South Dakota. Delaney, stifling a laugh, said he didn't think it was an issue. My thought on that is that most of the people who attend Wing Nuts meetings would be completely comfortable with Sharia law.
Rep. Phil Jensen, who introduced a bill that would have essentially declared open hunting on abortion doctors in the last legislative session, extended his perfect record of stupidity by asking, "Do you think that the faculty at So. Dak. universities should be balanced between conservatives and liberals?" Delaney more or less avoided the question, which was a quite reasonable reaction as far as I am concerned.
Try to imagine the questionnaire that would attempt to differentiate a "conservative" from a "liberal." I envision students being able to choose liberal calculus or conservative calculus.