Judge gives cover to Biden’s ‘unlawful’ halt to Mt. Rushmore fireworks; Noem vows to appeal

A judge has ruled against South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s lawsuit challenging the Biden administration over July 4th fireworks being held at Mount Rushmore this year and the Republican has vowed to fight back.

Judge Roberto A. Lange, an appointee of former President Obama, referred to holding fireworks at an Independence Day celebration at the base of Mount Rushmore as “appealing” when reviewed “at first blush.” He also said: “However this Court is not called upon to determine whether such a fireworks display is a good idea.”

The judge proclaimed in his 36-page ruling on Wednesday that America could “use a good celebration of its foundational principles of democracy, liberty, and equal protection of the law” following the pandemic and other divisive events that have occurred across the nation over the last year. Lange also seems quite aware that his ruling has political implications as well.

Noem is vowing to appeal the ruling. “The Biden Administration canceled South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on completely arbitrary grounds,” she vented on Twitter.

(Video Credit: KTIV News 4)

“I am disappointed that the court gave cover to this unlawful action with today’s decision. But rest assured, this fight is not over,” she promised. “My legal team will appeal so that we can return the Fireworks Celebration to Mount Rushmore and celebrate our nation’s birthday at America’s Shrine to Democracy for next year and in the future.”

Last year, former President Trump gave a patriotic speech at the monument following the first fireworks display there since 2009. Noem had requested that the court order a permit to be granted after her initial request to the National Parks Service was turned down. She called the decision “arbitrary and capricious.”

The District Court posited: “This Court cannot say that NPS’s decision was arbitrary and capricious under (law).”

Lange went on to write in his ruling: “This Court fully understands the State’s position and why this suit was brought, but under governing law, the State is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and has not met the requirements for the sort of mandatory injunction or writ of mandamus sought. For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that the State’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Doc. 3, is denied.”

He noted that if the situation had been reversed, and a group sought to block a permit that was issued by the National Park Service (NPS) for the display “this Court almost certainly would have denied a preliminary injunction to any group seeking to prohibit such a display from occurring.”

“Ultimately, there are strong arguments in both directions as to the balance of harms, and the public interest in the short-term appears to lie with having the fireworks display, whereas more long-term interests militate against it at least for this year,” he contended.

A number of excuses were given for the NPS rejection including Indian tribal partners objecting to the display, environmental and wildfire concerns, disruption of enjoyment by the public, disruption of construction, and the ongoing health and safety risks of the pandemic crisis.

“Potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event,” NPS regional director Herbert Frost previously wrote in a letter to the head of the state’s tourism department. “In addition, the park’s many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial.”

“These factors, compiled with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow a safe and responsible fireworks display to be held at this site,” he commented.

People sounded off on Twitter calling for the fireworks to go on anyway:


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