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Senate Expulsion of Sen. Tom Pischke from Republican Caucus
In a seemingly retaliatory move, Sen. Tom Pischke has been expelled from the Republican Caucus upon seeking and being denied remedy

March 06, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal

Pierre, S.D. – On Friday Feb. 24, 2023, Senator Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) was promptly removed from the Senate Republican Caucus upon submitting affidavits to the Hughes County Court. Pischke sought criminal charges against fellow Senators for preventing Senator Julie Frye-Mueller from meeting, a class 4 felony under SDCL § 2-4-6, and casting a vote(s) on behalf of her district, a class 1 misdemeanor under SDCL § 2-4-7.

The day prior, Thursday Feb. 23, 2023, Sen. Pischke held a press conference to announce the legal filings in Hughes County. Hughes County State's Attorney, Jessica LaMie, who previously served as deputy to Roxxane Hammond, was appointed to her role as State's Attorney by interim A.G Mark Vargo, after a mere two years in the department.

LaMie and A.G Marty Jackley have since concluded, “that neither the state’s Executive Branch nor Judicial Branch have any role in the internal workings of the Legislative Branch.” Events have left District 30 voters frustrated, and now District 25, as Sen. Pischke has been expelled from Caucusing in a seemingly retaliatory move.

In response to these events, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has issued the following statement today:

"The South Dakota Freedom Caucus denounces the recent efforts by the Senate Republican Caucus to silence and intimidate Republican Senator Pischke by expelling him from the Republican Caucus for exercising his freedom of speech and his right to file criminal charges.

"We believe that Senator Pischke has an inherent and explicit right to 'freely speak, write and publish on all subjects,' as is stated in our sacred South Dakota Constitution, under Article 6 § 5. The Legislature, and our government as a whole, is here to protect such rights, not to impede the exercise of them, as SD Const. Art. 6 § 1 states, 'to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

"Further, it is not for the Legislature, or any of its members or bodies, to interfere in the judicial process in determining the legal validity or invalidity of such criminal charges, or to make such determinations themselves, as such 'judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system,' or our courts, as stated in SD Const. Art. 5 § 1. Any such argument that such judicial power would extend beyond the judgment of the “qualifications of its own members” is a perversion of SD Const. Art. 3 § 9, and would in effect render the legislative branch to be immune from its own laws and the influence of the judicial branch, thereby rendering such checks and balances without meaning or effect.

"These principles are embodied in both our national and state Republican Party Platforms, and should be respected and adhered to.

"Such interference as is seen is akin to criminals intimidating their victims to stay silent after they’ve been abused and is unbecoming of the esteemed and honored body of the South Dakota Senate.

"The decision to pursue criminal prosecution or not is solely within the hands of the judicial branch, and such interference in this process is a clear violation of the separation of powers that our forefathers that founded our great state and country wisely prohibited, in order to prevent the influence popular passions at the time may have over such impartial and unbiased decisions that must be made for the sake of justice to be served.

"That is why we, as the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, implore the Senate Republican Caucus to cease and desist in such actions."

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--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-03-06 10:39:26Last Update: 2023-03-06 12:06:13


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