On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected an attempt by Republican Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem to have a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore in order to commemorate Independence Day.
As reported by The Hill, U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange decided not to enter a preliminary judgment in Noem’s favor, discovering that her suit against government officials was unlikely to be successful.
Lange, a nominee from the Obama administration, wrote, “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 interim legal relief, per the outlet.
“Specifically, he determined that the denial was not ‘arbitrary and capricious’ as the state contended because he said reasons given for the denial were not irrational or particularly implausible,” the outlet noted.
He also added that while the government needed to give a reason for its shift in opinion between the two events (last July 4th vs. this July 4th), authorities did acknowledge the previous event and stated how issues related to it affected their decision.
Lange also reportedly stated that if the circumstances had been reversed, and a group was trying to stop a permit put forward by the National Park Service (NPS) for a similar display, “this Court almost certainly would have denied a preliminary injunction to any group seeking to prohibit such a display from occurring.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Noem sent a letter to the Biden administration in April requesting permission to hold the celebration.
Fox News reported that the federal government agreed to allow fireworks to be held at the area last year, but the decision of the Biden administration would reverse that. Noem’s letter referenced a Memorandum of Agreement that had been made with the state to allow fireworks to return to celebrations at Mount Rushmore National Memorial “in a safe and responsible manner.” However, as Noem’s letter explains, the National Park Service (NPS) told the governor that it “would be reneging” on the Memorandum of Agreement, citing several concerns.
Noem went on to discuss Biden’s own declarations regarding Fourth of July celebrations, telling him that the letter from NPS “contradicts statements you made in March that held up Independence Day as a target date for Americans to begin returning to normal.”
Noem later sued the Biden administration for canceling the July 4th activities at Mount Rushmore, as reported by The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire noted that Noem filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota Central Division and “described the Department of the Interior’s refusal to grant a permit for fireworks at the national park as a departure ‘from longstanding precedent,’ and accused the administration of reneging on an agreement ‘without any meaningful explanation,’ according to Fox News.”
“Noem asked the court ‘to enjoin the Department of Interior’s (DOI) denial of the fireworks permit and order it to issue a permit for the event expeditiously,’” The Daily Wire added.
In a statement, Noem said Wednesday that she would appeal the judge’s most recent decision.
“The Biden Administration cancelled South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on completely arbitrary grounds. I am disappointed that the court gave cover to this unlawful action with today’s decision. But rest assured, this fight is not over,” Noem said.
“My legal team will appeal this incorrect decision 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,” she added.
The Biden Administration cancelled South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on completely arbitrary grounds. I am disappointed that the court gave cover to this unlawful action with today’s decision. But rest assured, this fight is not over. (1/2)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) June 2, 2021