South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s office remains silent after being confronted with rumors that the “legal experts” the Republican continues to cite as her reason for refusing to sign a bill protecting women’s sports is TV commentator and legal scholar Jonathan Turley.
Turley, who has completed legal work on a wide range of legal issues including defending polygamy, also frequently gives televised commentary on hot-topic issues such as the Democrats’ campaigns to impeach former President Donald Trump twice.
“Mr. Turley is a civil libertarian and a skeptic of executive power who also has a history of sometimes making arguments that please Republicans and irritate Democrats — while emphasizing that he personally agrees with liberals on policy matters,” the New York Times wrote in December 2019.
Noem previously claimed that she was “excited” to sign the bill promoting fairness in women’s sports, legislation containing policy supported by a majority of registered American voters and largely supported by the GOP.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” she wrote.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
But when the bill came across her desk, she refused to sign it without changes by the legislature, citing concerns raised by unnamed “legal experts.” Noem’s decision prompted swift and severe backlash from her voter base, many of whom said her chances to run for president in 2024 are all but doomed.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Noem’s communications director Ian Fury argued that watering down the South Dakota legislature’s bill to protect girls sports is the way to fight vicious conservative cancel mobs, many of which, he claims, are “uninformed” about Noem’s reasoning for rejecting and sending it back to the GOP-controlled state legislature.
“Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own,” the statement said. “A less impassioned review of the facts tells a much different story. Governor Noem has long stood for fairness in women’s sports.”
Fury also refused to tell The Federalist which “renowned conservative legal experts” advised Noem against signing a bill that would prevent biological males from competing in girl’s sports
“I can’t release the names of the legal experts without their permission. You would certainly recognize their names,” Fury wrote.