No Remedy Equals No Right

In one of our nation’s most significant Supreme Court cases, Marbury v. Madison, the court ruled that “the very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws, whenever he receives an injury.” The court also stated that a government cannot be called a “government of laws, and not of men… if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.” In other words, the court said there can be no right without a remedy.

Under current South Dakota law, crime victims have no enforceable rights because the existing South Dakota Crime Victim Rights act does not provide a remedy if rights are violated. If victim rights are intentionally or mistakenly violated, there is nothing they can do about it. So our state tells victims they have rights, but they really don’t under current law.

Telling victims they have rights when they really don’t is a false promise that often results in re-victimization for crime victims. When the government violates rights, it is essential for the courts to provide a remedy for victims. We need to pass Marsy’s Law (Amendment S) in South Dakota to make victim rights enforceable under the state constitution. 

Criminals have extensive constitutional rights. Their victims deserve equal rights under the constitution. Vote Yes on S in November!