- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2019

A federal judge has blocked two South Dakota laws that prohibit support for rioters, ruling that the measures “do in part restrict speech.”

“[T]he freedom of speech and association are constitutional rights that are central to all citizens of our country,” U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol said in Wednesday’s ruling. “Those rights will be thwarted if the unconstitutional portions of the riot boosting legislation remains in effect.”

In March, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, signed into law two bills that criminalized “riot boosting,” defined as assisting or encouraging rioters.

Ms. Noem said the legislation aimed to ward off the kind of protests that frustrated the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota three years ago.

TransCanada intends this year to begin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will circumnavigate a number of tribal lands as it crosses the western half of South Dakota.

Judge Piersol left in place parts of the law criminalizing violence and force.

“The governor and her team are reviewing the ruling,” a spokesperson for Ms. Noem told KELO News in Sioux Falls. “Since the matter remains in litigation, she won’t be making further public comments on the matter at this time.”

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