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Back to the Woodshed – Again

June 24, 2008

By Jeffrey Sewell

Yesterday, the South Carolina Supreme Court decided pull out the constitutional paddle and take the General Assembly to the woodshed – again. This time, the high court struck down provisions of a recently passed law that tacked on wine tastings and renewable energy development to a bill entitled “Job Tax Credit.”

Now for some people, wine tasting may be a taxing job for which they receive no credit, but I’m sure that was far from the intention of the bill.

The constitutional reality in South Carolina is that since 1895 our state’s charter has banned the practice of bobtailing, stating “every Act or resolution having the force of law shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.”

Until recently, the General Assembly has gotten away with it.

But within the last few years, the lady and gentlemen of the Supreme Court have decided not be beholden to the legislators who elect them. Instead, they’ve called them to task for constantly challenging the rule of law in this state. Yesterday was just one more example.

But the General Assembly refuses to get the point. As we’ve been reporting, in yet another egregious act of bobtailing, the General Assembly has tacked on an ethanol “splash blending” provision to bill creating a tax-free holiday for energy efficient appliances.

Perhaps someone in the Senate, where this provision was attached, decided that gasoline needs to be “tax free” and simply miswrote the provision, but it’s doubtful that’s the case.

Cindi Scoppe, in her column in The State today, gives a good historical background of bobtailing and goes further into what we discussed here yesterday about the threat S. 1143 poses to our business climate.

Despite their lack of love for the Governor, the House and Senate should sustain his veto of S. 1143 this week when they return –owning up to their mistake and thereby saving the state’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to yet again defend their unconstitutional actions.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2008 5:44 PM

    Hooray for the South Carolina Supreme Court. Finally, some justice for the folks who are supposed to be the bosses and not the Legaislature.
    If we had more adhereance to both the State and Federal Constitutions, we would have a better society.

  2. Byron Stevens permalink
    June 24, 2008 7:42 PM

    It’s high time the SC General Assembly start following the constitution of this state. I don’t care whether this bobtailed item in this bill is good or bad. What matters is the fact that some senator(s) evidently thought so little of us — the general public — that they didn’t even have the initiative to let this topic face REAL debate. Wonder why?

  3. June 24, 2008 10:43 PM

    Anyone thinking this will change anything is foolish. Maybe for a short span but that is all. If I am not mistaken the Supreme Court allowed the original law to stand so with no penalties or consequences what does this accomplish. The court scratches the legislatures back,the legislature scratches theirs. This is nothing more than an AG opinion in the long run.It will be going on again within a year.


  1. S.C. High Court Strikes Down Bobtailing … Again | FITSNews For Now

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