SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Jay Sekulow, a high-profile conservative attorney and former impeachment lawyer for President Donald Trump, has join the state's lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, the state's governor and attorney general separately announced Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Sekulow and his staff at the American Center for Law and Justice have been retained to serve as co-counsel on the South Dakota legal team in litigating the case, Planned Parenthood v. Noem, before the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, they said.
South Dakota is appealing an August federal court ruling that continued to block a portion of a state law requiring a pregnant woman to consult with a crisis pregnancy center before being allowed to choose to get an abortion. The law was passed by the South Dakota Legislature in early 2011 and months later, Planned Parenthood sued to block it.
Both Gov. Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg sent out press releases hailing Sekulow's retention to the legal team representing the state.
“Jay is a brilliant conservative legal mind,” said Noem in her news release. “He’s argued 12 Supreme Court cases, including several religious liberty and pro-life cases. He will bring the same tenacity to protecting unborn children here in South Dakota.”
Beyond Sekulow's Supreme Court experience and background, he also led Trump's legal team in his 2020 impeachment, in which Trump was acquitted.
“On behalf of the ACLJ, I am honored to represent Gov. Noem and the good people of South Dakota,” Sekulow said in Noem's press statement. “This common-sense legislation protects mothers and the unborn children."
Ravnsborg also released a statement hailing Sekulow's decision to join the case as co-counsel, saying he had consulted with Sekulow on the case and "as a result of our conversations," the attorney agreed to join the team.
"To that end, I have appointed Mr. Sekulow and his staff special assistant attorneys general to work alongside attorneys in the South Dakota Attorney General's Office to assist in preparing the state's case for the next stage of this litigation in the federal appeals courts," Ravnsborg said.