testimony judges

New Bill Takes Aim at Criticism of Lawmakers

  LEGISLATION WOULD REGULATE FREE SPEECH EVEN MORE TIGHTLY THAN LAST YEAR’S ‘DARK MONEY’ BILL In its present form, S.255, sponsored by Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), would substantially encroach on South Carolinians’ right to criticize politicians. The bill would require groups engaging in “election communication” – broadly defined as communication that supports or opposes a candidate, […]

private property sign

Property Rights in South Carolina

PRIVATE PROPERTY IS TOTALLY SECURE IN THIS CONSERVATIVE STATE, RIGHT? WRONG. In the wake of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, South Carolina attempted to shore up property rights with a constitutional amendment. As it now stands, however, the state constitution does not protect private property from seizure by government or even private companies. Currently, […]

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state house dome

The Threats to First Amendment Rights in S.C.

HOW STATE LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO STRIKE AT CITIZENS’ FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOMS Many Americans assume, wrongly, that their state legislatures deal mainly with low-level issues and that only Congress and the president deal with the really important matters of governance. Certainly in South Carolina, that’s an increasingly dangerous assumption. Indeed, the General Assembly has debated and […]

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South Carolina Gun Restrictions

Are Gun Restrictions Likely in 2017?

IN RECENT YEARS, STATE LAWMAKERS HAVE MADE INCREASINGLY BOLD MOVES AGAINST THE SECOND AMENDMENT. LOOK FOR MORE OF THE SAME THIS YEAR. The hostility toward Second Amendment freedoms seen at the national level – proposals for gun registries, bans on certain firearms, and so on – is just as evident in “red state” South Carolina’s […]

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The Gun Death ‘Epidemic’ and the 2nd Amendment

SOUTH CAROLINA POLICYMAKERS HAVE A DUTY TO RESPOND WITH REASON, NOT FEAR State lawmakers are now holding public forums to consider whether the General Assembly should further restrict citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Here’s what South Carolinians should understand about the gun debate before it begins. (1) The constitutional principle The American Constitution is not a […]

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Eminent Domain & the Threat to Private Property

EMINENT DOMAIN POWER FOR A NON-UTILITY PRIVATE COMPANY?  Update: This bill was ratified and signed by the governor with the provision that eminent domain would not apply to private, for-profit pipeline companies. This provision will sunset in June of 2019. On Tuesday, October 20, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee met to discuss and take testimony on S.868, […]

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Emergency Gun Bans & the Constitution

● Lawsuit alleges city acted improperly in gun ban. ● Attorney General opinion agrees. ● City’s ban runs against Second Amendment, court precedent. ● Flouting constitutionality a troubling trend in state, local bills. Of the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, few have been contested as fiercely as American’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Throughout the […]

Free Speech, Electioneering, & Constitutionality: A South Carolina Debate

HOW A BILL IN THE S.C. SENATE WOULD RUN UP AGAINST THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND U.S. SUPREME COURT PRECEDENT [Click here for a printable .pdf version of this report, and here for a short fact sheet.] First, the background. The South Carolina legislature is poised to pass new regulations of political speech. While the proposed law is being spun as […]

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Is South Carolina at War with the Homeless?

EQUALITY OF THE LAW OUGHT TO MEAN SOMETHING South Carolina has a homeless problem. That’s especially true in Columbia. The problem isn’t that the state and city are overwhelmed by an enormous homeless population – although the numbers in both cases are significant. The problem, rather, is that both the state and city have passed […]

A militarized police presence in Ferguson, Missouri.

A Return to Non-Adversarial Policing?

FEDERAL FUNDING HAS ENCOURAGED LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO MILITARIZE. THERE’S AN EASY WAY TO CHANGE THAT. The image of the public servant police officer committed to protecting the average citizen has taken a major hit this week, with the overbearing response by local police to protests in Ferguson, Missouri. The response – which looked more […]