A federal appeals court rejected an appeal on Wednesday from Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration after the office was previously rejected for a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. Last year, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. The state’s appeal Wednesday was rejected by three judges at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Noem’s administration had sought a permit from the National Parks Service for a fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day in 2021 as a follow-up to a controversial 2020 ceremony that was attended by Donald Trump, which gave national attention to Noem. Speaking at the event was Noem’s way of positioning herself as a potential candidate for a higher office in Congress.
Under President Joe Biden’s new administration in 2021, Noem’s request for a permit was denied by the Parks Service, which cited COVID-19, wildfire safety, environmental concerns, and tribal relations as among the reasons for denying her office. The state sued, arguing the rejection was “arbitrary and capricious.”
It's time South Dakotans had a governor they can trust. Someone who focuses on them instead of climbing the political ladder.
I'm Jamie Smith. Let's focus on South Dakota. pic.twitter.com/kml9nLBOwq
— Jamie Smith for SD Governor (@RepJamieSmith) July 27, 2022
The court noted the appeal was moot. “In entering final judgment following the Fourth of July last year, the district court correctly observed that the ‘issues surrounding the denial of the permit for 2021 are moot.'” wrote Judge David Stras for the three-judge opinion. “Time machines aside, to now order the Park Service to reconsider its decision to deny a permit for an event more than a year in the past would be the very definition of ‘[in]effectual relief.’ The bottom line is that we cannot change what happened last year, and South Dakota has not demonstrated that deciding this otherwise moot case will impact any future permitting decision,” Judge Stras concluded “Any controversy has, in other words, fizzled out.”
No Show Noem is in DC today promoting her book to the anti-choice and anti-LGBT+ Heritage Foundation.
— No Show Noem (@NoShowNoem) July 27, 2022
Noem made the decision about politics instead of dry weather conditions or respect for the local Native tribes, blaming President Joe Biden for the permit denial and insisted that the court erred in its ruling. “Unfortunately, the Biden Administration ran out the clock, blocking both our celebration and any serious judicial review,” she said in a statement. “The Court should have ruled on the merits to set a standard for future fireworks celebrations.”