PIERRE, S.D. (March 5, 2022) – The South Dakota Senate unanimously tabled a resolution against unconstitutional wars, effectively killing the measure for the legislative session.
Rep. Aaron Aylward (R) House Concurrent Resolution 6006 (HCR6006) along with a bipartisan coalition of 10 legislators. The resolution effectively called for an end to unconstitutional wars.
“Be it resolved that the President of the United States and the United States Congress be urged to take no action to employ military forces of the United States in active-duty combat unless and until the United States Congress has passed an official declaration of war or has taken an official action or renewed action to authorize the use of military force except for when our forces must respond to attack.”
The resolution also called for the president and Congress to follow “just war theory” in prosecuting any military action, along with the repeal of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force “and to ensure any future authorizations feature geographic and mission-specific language on their intended scope, regular reporting on their use, and automatic sunsets to require their periodic review, debate, and approval by recorded vote.”
“The State of South Dakota calls on the President of the United States and the United States Congress to end any periods of endless or perpetual armed conflict with no clear conditions of conclusion or connection to our vital national interests that risk the lives of our military members.”
Alyward also sponsored the South Dakota Defend the Guard bill that would have prohibited deployment of South Dakota National Guard troops into active duty combat without an official declaration of war or an official action pursuant to Article I, § 8, Clause 15 of the United States Constitution. Recognizing that he didn’t have enough support to move the bill, he decided to table it and push for passage of the resolution as a first step to build on.
The House passed the resolution on Feb. 22 by a 65-2 vote.
Rep. Sam Marty received a Purple Heart in Vietnam and testified on the House floor in support of the resolution. He vividly described the consequences of undeclared war, saying “…the first day on the job in Vietnam I picked up body parts of two guys I did not know.”
But with tensions ratcheting up with Russia, the Senate unanimously voted to table the resolution. Even the two senators listed as cosponsors of the resolution voted to table it.
The reason given for tabling the motion was “the timing on this isn’t good.”
Some sources indicate Gov. Kristi Noem pushed to have the resolution killed.
At the very moment that we needed people to stand up for the Constitution, these spineless senators slinked away and did nothing.
It goes to show that politicians don’t really care about the Constitution or its limits when the rubber meets the roads. They’ll pontificate about it on the campaign trail. They’ll pass resolutions when it doesn’t really matter. But when they have to stick their necks out and risk political capital to defend the Constitution, they are suddenly MIA.