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Kristi Noem Has No Good Explanations For Vetoing The Girls’ Sports Bill


Since reversing her support to finally veto a bill that would have required only females to play on female sports teams, South Dakota Kristi Noem has kicked up a whirlwind of rhetorical dirt about her decision. It all seems designed to confuse people about the key fact that she had a bill on her desk that would have outlawed males unfairly playing girls, and she vetoed it.

Many of her arguments for this decision contradict themselves, or her own actions. For example, Noem has repeatedly claimed that she has spent “months” examining this issue. At National Review Online Tuesday, she wrote, “Since November, my team and I have worked to find the best way to defend women’s sports effectively— not just to feel good, but to do good. We have to be able to win in court. It is for that reason that I asked the South Dakota state legislature to make revisions to HB 1217.”

This statement seems reasonable until you contrast it with the fact that just a few weeks ago Noem publicly stated that she supported HB 1217 as passed by the legislature and looked forward to signing it “very soon.” If she had been examining the issue “Since November,” what, then, explains her public endorsement of the bill four months later in March, then her swift reversal just a week after that public endorsement?

The only way to reconcile these two claims while assuming her honesty is for her alleged months of work and consultation with “legal scholars” to have led to her support for the bill that she announced in March. Yet that’s not what she ultimately followed through on, which leads one to believe she’s not telling the truth about her “work” on this issue “since November.” The only way to reasonably put these two items together, then, is to surmise Noem changed her position for political reasons and is attempting to cover it up.

That’s not the only self-contradiction she’s engaged in during this whole affair. Another is her claim that a major reason she vetoed the legislation is the threat of lawsuits.

“As passed, this bill was a trial lawyer’s dream. It would have immediately been enjoined had I signed it into law, meaning that no girls in South Dakota would have been protected,” she writes. Her article repeatedly alleges these potential legal threats yet never once explains from whence she believes they stem.

Based on the fact that other states have passed similar laws, including just last week Arkansas, one might surmise that other governors don’t believe these laws present trial lawyer bonanzas, or are not afraid of them. In Idaho, which passed the first girls’ sports protection bill, the NCAA has not sued nor withdrawn from the state, which Noem alleged on Tucker Carlson might happen in South Dakota.

The American Civil Liberties Union did sue to enjoin Idaho’s law. Yet if the ACLU is the threat Noem is afraid of, why did she argue she can’t fight them in court then sign two executive orders after her veto to ostensibly secure women’s sports for South Dakota’s K-12 and state university teams? She’s willing to go to court over her executive orders but not over a law? How does that make any sense?

As David Harsanyi writes:

Even if we concede that lawsuits would be in the offing, so what? At worst, South Dakota would be back where it started after a very public debate on an issue Noem claims is vitally important to her. At best, Title IX protections are restored. It’s tough to read Noem’s insincere rationalization a week after writing about someone like Jack Phillips, who stood up to an entire state to protect his religious liberty even after most people told him he would lose.

The ACLU certainly won’t refuse to litigate an issue because it stems from an executive order versus a law. That is, unless their legal opinion is that the governor’s order is symbolic, rather than effective. One wonders, then, if it’s their “legal scholars” who have been telling Noem what laws she can and doesn’t dare sign, rather than the voters of South Dakota.

Other evidence the executive orders are symbolic include that they lack any enforcement mechanisms, which were present in the legislation Noem vetoed. The order that pertains to collegiate women’s sports also gives the duty to carry it out to the state’s board of regents, which opposed HR 1217, leading to a fox and henhouse appearance here. In addition, of course, executive orders can be undone by the stroke of a pen the minute a disagreeing governor gets into office, while a law cannot, making orders inherently weaker yet another way.

Thus it’s another contradiction in her argument that Noem insists her true goal is to be effective in protecting female sports while taking actions that seem likely to be less effective than, again, the legislation she chose to veto. A rational explanation for all these is, again, that Noem is scared, and acting accordingly, choosing to concede the fight before even engaging it.

The left wins on easy issues like these because they are relentless. The only way to stop them is to go toe to toe and show up everywhere they do with a counter force, to spread their resources everywhere possible by engaging them everywhere possible. The only way to beat relentless bloodhounds is to get a stick and start thwacking as hard as you can. Not to surrender and ask people to believe you’re fighting.

To truly fight them, Noem should have signed the bill and demanded her state legislature pass more, such banning the transgender mutilation of minors. South Dakota passed such a bill that the previous governor vetoed in 2016, and Arkansas’s legislature just became the first in the nation to send such a bill to a friendly governor. Every state should do this.

One of Noem’s top personal legal advisors might oppose protecting kids in these ways because he works for a hospital system that profits from transgender mutilation, but this is a clear abomination that only a moral monster could support, and anyone who isn’t mind-wiped can see that. It should be as easy to support a bill banning chopping off children’s genitals and sterilizing them as it is to oppose ritual human sacrifice.

Make your opponents support child mutilation in their lawsuits and votes. Let everyone see what disgusting people they are, what they are willing to do for filthy lucre. It should be easy for any halfway competent politician to hold press conferences talking about her opponents’ support for cutting off children’s sex organs like fancier clothed barbarian pederasts. Make them defend that every day for as long as it takes.

The only way to beat the ACLU and other transgender activists is to fight when they show up, rather than fold. Noem wants us to believe that she fought. But thanks to her, nobody is challenging the ACLU or anyone else over South Dakota’s girls’ sports law, because it doesn’t have one. Instead of fighting, she walked away from the fight and told us all to believe she’s shown courage on this issue because she’s done other good things too.

“Executives make decisions every day. And those decisions send a signal to the world: Does this executive lead, or does she follow?” Noem wrote in NRO. We all know the real answer.