A Judge's Salary for Everyone
Another cynical jab at judges: jurors would be paid at a rate identical to a circuit court judge. This is both arbitrary, expensive and irresponsible, costing $2.65 million in the first year alone. There is no rational reason for taxpayers to compensate Special Grand Jury members, drawn randomly from voter ranks, in this manner.
One of the basic tactics of government is to hamstring all Grand Juries by financial deficiency. The reason for this is to restrain and control Grand Juries. Without adequate compensation there is very little Grand Jurors can do. For instance, in Los Angeles County each of the Grand Jurors receive only $25 per day. This salary does not even meet the minimum wage of a teenager still in school who is working at McDonald's. All the Grand Jurors have to be supported either by Social Security, retirement, or independent means. This of course naturally tends to exclude the average member of society who does not receive such benefits. Further, every year the budget of the Grand Jury comes up short, leaving them unable to pursue or complete their investigations. This condition is intended by government. The last thing they want to see is what they call "a runaway Grand Jury" that may very well come after them.
It is going to be difficult for the system to get used to the fact that the People are sovereign, not government, including judges. After 200+ years of getting a free ride by usurpation of power stolen from the People, it won't be easy for the system to let go of the counterfeit kingship that the judiciary has enjoyed for all this time. As difficult as this adjustment will be, it's a change that must be made "when a long train of abuses and usurpations" occurs as stated in the Declaration of Independence. When this truth is recognized, every sentence of the above critique by the No-On-E Club will appear as irrational as they truly are. (For instance, "$2.65 million the first year" --or any year for that matter-- is false-- as discussed below).
The Special Grand Jury members are the People, drawn randomly from voter ranks. The People are sovereign by nature, and are over all the judiciary as the final check on judicial power. "...that when judges do abuse their power, the People are obliged --it is their duty-- to correct that injury,..." (Preamble, Amendment E).
The People, when called upon to investigate judicial misconduct for alleged violations of procedural law which contravenes constitutional requirements (¶2), are entitled to be compensated no less than the public servants over whom they reign and to whom they have entrusted certain limited power. The judges' power is derived from the consent of the People --the governed --i.e., the Special Grand Jury. (South Dakota Constitution, Art. VI, §1).
To ease the financial burden on taxpayers, Amendment E provides for funding for the Special Grand Jury operational budget by judges (¶6) who are the subject of judicial accountability, and thus the most logical source of funding. This issue has been previously discussed in more detail. Paragraph 6 refers to the various sources of funding and paragraph 10 discusses how the budget will be managed.
Pursuant to the Amendment, this budget will not fall to the taxpayers. The $2.65 million cost alleged by the No-On-E Club is undoubtedly based on the SGJ serving every day, all day, throughout the year. The SGJ operates like an accordion, to meet its demand. It serves only when it has complaints of judicial misconduct to investigate. Paragraph 9 states "Each Juror shall receive a salary commensurate to that of a Circuit Court judge, prorated according to the number of days actually served by the Juror." [emphasis added].
If the judges in South Dakota do not abuse their power, there will be no need for the Special Grand Jury to be active, and no salary expenses incurred. Any excess accumulated for the budget at the beginning of a new budget year shall be transferred to the state treasury. (¶10). As a practical matter, the SGJ will likely produce a surplus each year for the state rather than a deficit.
Further, one needs to consider the bonus to the South Dakota economy due to the curtailing of costly corruption.