PIERRE | State senators voted Wednesday to commend U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds for their votes to confirm United States Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — but not without heated debate.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 passed the Senate by a vote of 22-13 after nearly 30 minutes of floor debate. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Sen. Troy Heinert, of Mission, called the concurrent resolution a "thank-you card," and criticized the Legislature for passing a resolution that "does absolutely nothing" as the federal government is in the midst of its longest shutdown in history.
"We have so many people in South Dakota that are being affected by this government shutdown," Heinert said following the vote. "The last thing we need to be talking about is the appointment of someone who has been in the job for four months."
The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh in October after Christine Blasey Ford alleged that he sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982. Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republican Sen. Stace Nelson, of Fulton, said the purpose of the resolution was to show gratitude for Thune and Rounds "doing their duty during some very difficult times."
Republican Sen. Deb Soholt, of Sioux Falls, questioned whether the nomination of Kavanaugh was the right reason to thank Thune and Rounds and that the resolution could "send a mixed message about what kind of support the Senate is providing to people who have been victimized."
"For Judge Kavanaugh and for Dr. Ford, they were victimized throughout that process and they were traumatized," Soholt said following the floor debate.
"For us to affirm SCR 5 — while we may want to thank and support the people that represent us in Washington — is really an affirmation and a disregard of what happened during that process," she said.
The resolution now moves onto the House for a final vote before passage.