A bill representing the largest overhaul of state government in decades is again approaching passage. BMore >>
A bill representing the largest overhaul of state government in decades is again approaching passage. Both Gov. Nikki Haley and her chief Democratic opponent are working to get it to her desk in the legislative session's...More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 3:01 PM EDT2013-05-17 19:01:38 GMT
Video of State Representative Ted Vick chronicles the Pee Dee lawmaker's interaction with Bureau of Protective Services officers late Tuesday night as he was arrested for DUI in the State House parkingMore >>
Video of Democratic State Representative Ted Vick chronicles the Pee Dee lawmaker's interaction with Bureau of Protective Services officers late Tuesday night as he was arrested for DUI in the State House parking garage.More >>
Thursday, May 16 2013 7:42 PM EDT2013-05-16 23:42:13 GMT
Episodes of tragic school violence across the nation in the last year have had a heavy impact on South Carolina lawmakers. Now they're considering allowing school districts to employ extra security, butMore >>
Episodes of tragic school violence across the nation in the last year have had a heavy impact on South Carolina lawmakers. Now they're considering allowing school districts to employ extra security, but at what cost?More >>
Thursday, May 16 2013 8:22 AM EDT2013-05-16 12:22:34 GMT
For the second time in just over a year, Pee Dee lawmaker and former Seventh Congressional District candidate Ted Vick was arrested on a DUI charge early Wednesday morning.Vick remains detained at theMore >>
For the second time in just under a year, Pee Dee lawmaker and former Seventh Congressional District candidate Ted Vick (D-Chesterfield) was arrested on a DUI charge.More >>
Wednesday, May 15 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-16 03:20:55 GMT
ANDREW MIGA Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor whose extramarital affair sank his political career in 2009, is returning to Congress to reclaimMore >>
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A federal judge says South Carolina must stop marketing and making licenses plates that feature the image of a cross and the words "I Believe."
A federal judge issued a temporary injunction during a court hearing Thursday after opponents said the plates violate the separation of church and state.
"I think our arguments were very strong, our viewpoints were very valid. And we kind of look forward to the opposition's response to that. More material to work with. We feel really good about what's happened today," said Rev. Thomas Summers of of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which opposed the plates.
In court, an attorney for the Washington-based group said state lawmakers had approved what she called a "uniquely Christian" license plate, one that violates the constitution's Establishment Clause against state sponsorship of religion.
"Our goal is to get the government to stay out of the business. If a private organization wants to express a viewpoint on a plate, that doesn't present a constitutional problem in the way one arises when the government takes a position on religion," says attorney Ayesha Khan.
"The question really presented here is whether government should be allowed to exclude a religious message precisely because it's religious. Are we going to say it's okay in the public square to express a preference for a secular humanist position of "In God we trust" or a preference for a football team or a university? And then at the same time say any expression of a religious viewpoint is per se, impermissible," said DMV attorney Kevin Hall.
U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie said the case needs to be heard in court. In the meantime, the judge said the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot take any more orders for the plates.
Department spokeswoman Beth Parks said the agency stopped taking orders more than a month ago, after it collected the 400 needed to cover the cost of making the plates.
Parks said it took fewer than three days to get 400 orders online. She said they are in production, and none has shipped.
Attorney General Henry McMaster responded to the ruling with the statement, "I am extremely disappointed in the Court's ruling, and feel the 'I Believe' license tag is completely constitutional. I will strongly urge and recommend that the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Corrections immediately appeal this decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals."
"The 'I Believe' license plate is a clear example of government favoritism toward one religion," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "The court drove home an important point: South Carolina officials have no business meddling in religious matters."
Currie's ruling said specifically that the DMV would have to remove any advertising for the plate on its Web site.
And in fact, the department changed its web page late Thursday afternoon.