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SC’s high court strikes portion of Confederate monument protection law

The South Carolina Supreme Court just issued a judgment ruling a part of the Heritage Act...
The South Carolina Supreme Court just issued a judgment ruling a part of the Heritage Act unconstitutional.(WCSC/WIS)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The South Carolina Supreme Court just issued a judgment ruling a part of the Heritage Act unconstitutional.

The Heritage Act requires a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly in order to remove a monument of a historical figure or change the monument’s name.

The Court ruled that the legislature that originally made the law had no right to restrict future lawmaking bodies by requiring that supermajority.

The wife of State Sen. and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was shot and killed along with eight of his parishioners in a racially motivated shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in 2015, filed the lawsuit, along with several others. The high court upheld the rest of the law requiring the Legislature’s permission, keeping the act intact.

The 2000 law has prevented colleges and local governments from removing Confederate monuments or the names of segregationists from buildings.

Lawmakers have refused to even take up any requests to remove monuments over the past few years even as other Southern cities act.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson had this to say about the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling on the Heritage Act:

“I want to thank the Supreme Court for a very scholarly, well-considered, and well-documented opinion. Their unanimous ruling confirms our earlier opinion on the Heritage Act. We agree with the Court that the compromise concerning the Flag and which led to passage of the Heritage Act is one of the great achievements in South Carolina history.”

“The Court ruled unanimously that the two-thirds majority vote required by the act is unconstitutional but the rest of the act is constitutional and stands,” the AG’s office said in a statement.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.