Currently, sixteen different attorneys general have joined alongside GOP Governor Kristi Noem’s continued fight to restore the Fourth of July fireworks celebration in South Dakota. This action marks one of the latest in a showdown between federal and state officials that has lasted over a year.
Earlier this week, the attorneys general from sixteen different states opted to file an amicus brief that supports Noem’s lawsuit against the Department of Interior regarding Fourth of July fireworks in South Dakota, by Mount Rushmore. The newest lawsuit, which is led by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, is aiming to restore the Mount Rushmore fireworks display in 2022, as well as in the years to follow.
The attorneys general observed that Biden made a remarkably “arbitrary” choice when he chose to cancel the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration, which also “sets a bad precedent for other states” who are in favor of predictable, as well as honest, federal processes, Noem stated.
“I am grateful for the [attorneys general] who are standing up with South Dakota so that we can return the Fireworks Celebration to Mount Rushmore,” Noem continued, adding that the celebration is intended to not only honor the birthday of the nation, but also to honor America’s Shrine to Democracy in the following year, as well as the years well into the future.
The most recent amicus brief also condemns the decision to cancel the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration in 2021, noting that the decision-making regarding the park was “flimsy,” “erratic,” and “based on unsupported rationales.” One of the most serious issues related to permitting the National Mall show in Washington, D.C. to proceed while simultaneously blocking the Rushmore celebration.
The attorneys general observed that the majority of the letter denying the South Dakotans’ permit pertained to the COVID pandemic, though they also noted that the same issues with COVID “did not prevent the National Park Service from holding a fireworks display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.”
For this reason, the Biden administration’s decision to target South Dakota was both “capricious” and “arbitrary.”
In April 2021, Gov. Noem launched a lawsuit against the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, when federal officials issued a denial to South Dakota regarding the planned fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. The federal officials cited COVID as an excuse for the denial.
Since this time, seventeen attorneys general, which include Schmidt, have supported the governor in her lawsuit against the federal government, with Schmidt adding that he was happy to have the chance to help the South Dakota governor fight back against the “arbitrary decision” of the Biden administration.
In June 2021, the court denied Gov. Noem’s request, claiming that a ruling favoring her would result in “improper judicial activism. Later in June, Noem obliquely commented on Biden’s approval of the National mall festivities.
Remarking that “it’s a beautiful day,” Noem also added that she really wishes South Dakota would have fireworks, though it probably will not happen due to Biden.
“But look at all the wonderful people still enjoying this monument to history,” Noem continued, in reference to the National Mall.
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