Federal judge strongly rebukes South Dakota and Governor Noem’s pandemic response

Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 2:58 PM MST
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A federal judge writes scathing remarks about South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

That comes from Judge Charles Kornmann in his order in the filing in a case from Codington County where a man claims his right to a speedy trial in state court is being violated due delays from COVID-19 restrictions in court.

Judge Kornmann writes, “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.”

Judge Kornmann also writes, in part, “South Dakota has done little, if anything, to curtail the spread of the virus. The governor had steadfastly refused to imposed a statewide mask mandate. She has often questioned publicly the scientific fact that mask wearing prevents the virus from spreading.” He continues, “Her example significantly encourages South Dakotans to not wear masks. South Dakota is now a very dangerous place in which to live due to the spread of COVID-19.” We got this response from Governor Noem’s senior advisor Maggie Seidel, “Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason. Partisanship has no place in our Courts. It’s very unfortunate Judge Kornmann, a Clinton appointee and the former general counsel for the South Dakota Democrat Party, chose to use his judicial platform to level a personal attack on Governor Noem. She will take the high road and will not respond in kind.”

Judge Kornmann ruled that South Dakota can’t use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to delay Matthew Kurtenbach’s trials and says two of them must start no later than January 15th.