South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem has been widely hailed as a hero by
conservatives for standing up to COVID fascism and refusing to implement mask mandates and stay-at-home orders in South Dakota. So, when the South Dakota House passed HB 1217, which would prevent men from playing in female sports within state grade school, high school and collegiate programs, most outside observers (including us) figured it was a done deal that Noem would stand for conservative principles and sign the bill.
Thus, we were shocked when she did an about-face and issued a de facto veto threat until changes are made to the bill.
As our friend Daniel Horowitz observed in a column for The Blaze, sensing the outrage from her new conservative fans, Noem took to Twitter to defend her actions:
The upshot of her long Twitter thread is that she is really 100% in support of maintaining the integrity of girls' sports but was merely concerned about some technical details and was offering some "recommendations as to STYLE and FORM."
It is true that in South Dakota a governor can issue a quasi-veto on style and form, which basically sends the bill back to the legislature for technical changes. Upon the legislature making those changes, the bill automatically becomes law, but if legislators decline to make those changes, the governor's recommendation becomes a veto. However, typically, style and form literally mean clerical mistakes, grammar, or spelling. Noem is proposing substantive changes, which in itself calls into question the constitutionality of this procedure.
Putting procedural rules aside, Noem gives away the farm in one line of her tweet thread, when she says "competing on the national stage means compliance with the national governing bodies that oversee collegiate athletics." Here we see that this is all about placating the NCAA gestapo and not about some hyper-technical unintended consequences that she claims to be worried about. She is requesting that the entire bill only apply to K-12 athletics, but not colleges. It's hard to see how this is not political and being done because of special interest pressure from out of the state.
Governor Noem later went on Tucker Carlson’s formerly popular Fox News program to defend her action, as Fox reported, "This bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota," she said. " And it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports. So, what I have done is I have asked the legislature... to change the bill."
Noem said the bill would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against South Dakota.
"We have had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota," she said. "When they took punitive action against us we would have to litigate, and legal scholars that I have been consulting with for many, many months say I would very likely lose those litigation efforts."
"Wait," Carlson interjected. "So, you are saying the NCAA threatened you... they said 'If you sign this, we won't allow girls in South Dakota to play' and you don't think you can win in court -- even though the public overwhelmingly supports you nationally -- and so you are caving to the NCAA?" he emphasized.
Noem dismissed Carlson's insinuation as "completely wrong," and reiterated her commitment to protecting women's sports.
Her strategy, she explained, involves the creation of a coalition to keep the NCAA from "bullying the state of South Dakota."
"Listen, I'm sick and tired of the NCAA threatening states, challenging us and bullying us, so we are going to build a coalition of leaders, athletes and people who want to protect women's sports," she said.
"Listen," Noem continued. "I'm not interested in a participation trophy. I'm not interested in picking a fight that we can't win. I am a problem-solver ... and I have been bullied for the last year by liberals, Tucker. I'm not going to let anybody from the NCAA, from any big business, I'm not even going to let conservatives on the right bully me. I'm going to solve the problem.
"I'm going to make sure that we are building strength in numbers and we are going after the NCAA and make sure that we are keeping only girls playing in girls' sports."
Governor Noem’s big mistake in this whole matter was one made perennially by “good government Republicans” and that was to operate on the assumption that the other side is acting in good faith to address a “problem,” in this case the “problem” is keeping a level playing field where biological men and biological women do not compete against each other in amateur athletics.
As the Left often says, “the issue is never the issue, the issue is the Revolution.” What Governor Noem must be persuaded to understand is there’s no good faith on the other side, because their intention is to create the problem she’s trying to solve in order to remake society. It has nothing to do with athletics; fair competition and a level playing field are irrelevant to their goal of remaking America into a weird new multi-gender utopia where each individual gets to get up every morning and decide who and what they are.
The essence of leadership in matters of this nature is not to let so-called experts and “constitutional scholars” waive you off – it is to have the fight and to stand for common sense, science and the values of the vast majority of Americans. We like Governor Noem, and hope she wakes up and gets back in the Revolution on our side.