Federal judge blocks enforcement of South Dakota anti-riot law

A federal district judge slapped an injunction on a new South Dakota anti-rioting law intended to prevent protests of the Keystone XL pipeline. The ruling agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union that the law was vague and overbroad. (Courthouse News Service, September 18, 2019, by Levi Lass)

The anti-rioting law failed to specify which actions were violations carrying civil or criminal penalties. The law also singled out people for “advising, encouraging, or soliciting” which the judge found troubling. He wrote that these activities in the main constituted protected speech. (techdirt, October 1, 2019, by Tim Cushing)

Delilah Friedler in Mother Jones, September 18, 2019, notes that the South Dakota law is just one of a number of anti-protest laws recently passed by state legislatures. The laws often aim at protests against pipelines and other infrastructure and can levy 10-year sentences and fines of up to $1 million for “conspiring” groups.

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