S. Carolina AG asks court to rule on monument protection law

August 14, 2020 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has asked the state’s Supreme Court to determine whether the state’s monument protection law is constitutional.

Wilson’s letter Thursday calls on the court to weigh in a lawsuit filed by the widow of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who is suing to overturn the Heritage Act. The law was passed in 2000 and requires a legislative vote before certain historic monuments — those that honor someone from the Civil War or other military conflict — are altered or torn down.

“The Heritage Act touches virtually every community in the State,” Wilson’s office wrote.


Pinckney’s widow, Jennifer Pinckney, says she should be allowed to make changes to memorials to her husband, killed in a 2015 racist attack at a Charleston church.

Gov. Henry McMaster and top legislative leaders are named as defendants in the suit.

Wilson, a Republican, issued an opinion last month saying the act’s requirement that lawmakers must agree by a two-thirds vote to change certain street or building names or to alter or move a monument is not legal.