Former SD Attorney General: 21 is “Bad Law”

Over the weekend, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader published an op-ed written by Mark Meierhenry, the former South Dakota Attorney General who started the process of challenging the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in court during his tenure. Meierhenry’s successor, Roger Tellinghuisen, ended up pursuing the case all the way to the Supreme Court, where the constitutionality of the law was determined in South Dakota v. Dole.

In this weekend’s op-ed, Meierhenry offered unequivocal support for Representative Tim Rounds’ proposal to alter the drinking age in South Dakota, arguing that the current practice of discrimination against 18-20 year-olds does more harm than good:

We have disgraced the idea that 18-year-olds have the right to vote, to be executed, to go to war, but they can’t drink a beer. We have pushed these young people in some ways to drink harder liquor because if they’re disregarding the law anyway and might as well get vodka, and we have a new phenomenon: binge drinking.

Meierhenry concluded with some words of praise for Rep. Rounds: “Good for state Rep. Tim Rounds bringing the subject up for a possible change of a bad law.”

One Response to “Former SD Attorney General: 21 is “Bad Law””

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with an alcohol education program. There will be alcohol responsibility in just about every person aged 18-20 if the solutions are implemented. Meierhenry is correct in that because the ageist drinking age disrespects the age of majority, binge drinking is sought by young adults to avoid detection by police officers. Since those aged 18, 19, and 20 are adults and have rights and privileges, then the responsible consumption of alcohol must again become a right for those 18-20.