“The so-called ‘Riot Boosting’ Act was clearly intended to suppress constitutionally-protected, peaceful protests of the Keystone XL pipeline.”
Environmentalists celebrated Wednesday after a federal court temporarily blocked enforcement of a recently enacted South Dakota law that aims to hit pipeline protesters with fines and up to 25 years in prison.
Legal experts and green groups have decried the law, officially titled the Riot Boosting Act, as a flagrant violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution that was obviously targeted at Keystone XL opponents.
“The so-called ‘Riot Boosting’ Act was clearly intended to suppress constitutionally-protected, peaceful protests of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Stephen Pevar, senior staff attorney with the ACLU, which filed suit to stop the law from taking effect. “We’re glad the court recognized that these vague and overbroad laws threaten the First Amendment rights of South Dakotans on every side of the issue.”
South Dakota is one of several Republican-controlled states to pass legislation in recent months to criminalize pipeline protests. In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed in to law a measure that would hit pipeline protesters with up to a decade in prison.
As Common Dreams reported in June, the Trump administration is also looking to punish anti-pipeline demonstrations at the federal level.
In his ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol wrote: “Imagine that if these riot boosting statutes were applied to the protests that took place in Birmingham, Alabama, what might be the result? Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference could have been liable under an identical riot boosting law.”
BREAKING: South Dakota’s riot law enacted to target protesters of the Dakota Pipeline has been found UNCONSTITUTIONAL! this is a major initial victory in our fight against anti-protest laws. https://t.co/4LriYJf9lU
— Nora Benavidez (@AttorneyNora) September 18, 2019
Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network applauded the court’s decision as “a good step in protecting our right to organize, educate, and promote a sustainable future for all generations of life.”
“As Dakota,” said Goldtooth, “it is our duty to protect the land and water, and speaking up on behalf of these sacred elements is essential to that endeavor.”
New York’s coronavirus crisis tracked back to European travel — not China: scientists
The New York Times reported Wednesday that scientists have tracked the cases of coronavirus in New York back to travel from Europe.
The Times explained that genomes show the link to those who came down with the virus back in February.
President Donald Trump has been celebrating his decision to shut down some travel from China, though not all travel. A whopping 430,000 people have traveled from China to the United States since the coronavirus crisis.
Warrant for journalists from Jerry Falwell Jr. came from Liberty University’s own police
A right-wing commentator interviewed Jerry Falwell Jr. during his show Wednesday, where Falwell said that there were two arrest warrants open for reporters who came onto Liberty University's campus.
Upon further examination of the warrant, the police officer who signed the warrant was Detective/Sgt. A.B. Wilkins 206 LUPD. The LUPD is not the Lynchburg Police Department nor is there a Sgt. or Detective A.B. Wilkins. It's the police department under the authority of Liberty University.
Trump defenders Diamond and Silk locked out of Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation
Fox Nation hosts Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known as Diamond & Silk, were temporarily locked out of Twitter on Wednesday for urging people to go outside and develop immunity against the coronavirus.
“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” the pair tweeted from their joint account.
A spokesperson for Twitter told Mediaite their account was locked over the tweet.