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A340, R370, H3159
Sponsors: Reps. Toole, Umphlett, Littlejohn, Huggins, Sandifer, Viers, Hamilton, G.R. Smith, Leach, Haskins, Cato, Shoopman, Bedingfield, Loftis and Lowe
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ggs\22639sj07.doc
Introduced in the House on January 9, 2007
Introduced in the Senate on March 27, 2007
Last Amended on May 21, 2008
Passed by the General Assembly on May 29, 2008
Governor's Action: June 11, 2008, Signed
Summary: Religious references to God, a deity, etc.
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12/20/2006 House Prefiled 12/20/2006 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary 1/9/2007 House Introduced and read first time HJ-88 1/9/2007 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-88 2/15/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Viers 3/21/2007 House Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary HJ-3 3/22/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Hamilton, G.R.Smith, Leach, Haskins, Cato, Shoopman, Bedingfield, Loftis, Lowe 3/22/2007 House Amended HJ-21 3/22/2007 House Read second time HJ-25 3/22/2007 House Unanimous consent for third reading on next legislative day HJ-25 3/23/2007 House Read third time and sent to Senate HJ-2 3/23/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 3/27/2007 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-6 3/27/2007 Senate Referred to Committee on Finance SJ-6 5/15/2007 Senate Recalled from Committee on Finance SJ-7 5/15/2007 Senate Committed to Committee on Judiciary SJ-7 5/21/2007 Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Martin (ch), Malloy, Campsen, Williams 5/7/2008 Senate Committee report: Majority favorable with amend., minority unfavorable Judiciary SJ-8 5/8/2008 Scrivener's error corrected 5/21/2008 Senate Minority Report Removed SJ-14 5/21/2008 Senate Amended SJ-76 5/21/2008 Senate Debate interrupted SJ-76 5/22/2008 Senate Committee Amendment Amended and Adopted SJ-45 5/22/2008 Senate Read second time SJ-45 5/22/2008 Senate Unanimous consent for third reading on next legislative day SJ-45 5/23/2008 Scrivener's error corrected 5/23/2008 Senate Read third time and returned to House with amendments SJ-2 5/29/2008 House Concurred in Senate amendment and enrolled HJ-25 6/5/2008 Ratified R 370 6/11/2008 Signed By Governor 6/27/2008 Copies available 6/27/2008 Effective date 06/11/08 7/11/2008 Act No. 340
View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A340, R370, H3159)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 10-1-168 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE POSTING OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN LAW AND GOVERNMENT DISPLAY IN A PUBLIC LOCATION IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS OF THE STATE AND ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS, TO DELINEATE THE CONTENT OF THE DISPLAY, TO PROVIDE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN THE DISPLAY, AND TO CREATE AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE DISPLAY TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
General Assembly's findings
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds:
(1) there is a need to educate and inform the public about the history and background of American law;
(2) the public buildings of this State and its political subdivisions are ideal forums to display educational and informational material regarding the history and background of American law; and
(3) a basic knowledge of American constitutional history is important to the formation of civic virtue in our society.
Public buildings and property, Foundations of American Law and Government display
SECTION 2. Chapter 1, Title 10 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 10-1-168. (A) Notwithstanding another provision of law, each municipality, county, or other political subdivision of this State including, but not limited to, a school board, is authorized to post the Foundations of American Law and Government display, as described in this section, in a visible, public location in the public buildings of this State and its political subdivisions.
(B) The Foundations of American Law and Government display must include:
(1) The Ten Commandments;
(2) The Magna Carta;
(3) The Mayflower Compact, 1620;
(4) The Declaration of Independence;
(5) 'The Star-Spangled Banner' by Francis Scott Key;
(6) The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution;
(7) The Preamble to the South Carolina Constitution;
(8) The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution;
(9) The national motto 'In God We Trust';
(10) The image of Lady Justice;
(11) The Lord's Prayer;
(12) The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863; and
(13) Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech.
(C) Public displays of the Foundations of American Law and Government display shall contain the text of the documents listed in items (1) through (13) of subsection (B) together with the context for acknowledging formative, historically significant documents in America's heritage contained in subsection (D). Because the purpose of the display is not to advance religion, the General Assembly expresses no preference as to which version of the Ten Commandments is displayed.
(D) The Foundations of American Law and Government display contains documents that played a significant role in the foundation of our system of law and government. The display contains: the Ten Commandments; the Magna Carta; the Mayflower Compact, 1620; the Declaration of Independence; 'The Star-Spangled Banner' by Francis Scott Key; the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution; the Preamble to the South Carolina Constitution; the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; the national motto 'In God We Trust'; the image of Lady Justice; The Lord's Prayer; the Emancipation Proclamation, 1863; and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech.
(1) The Ten Commandments have profoundly influenced the formation of western legal thought and the formation of our country. That influence is clearly seen in the Declaration of Independence, which declared that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness'. The Ten Commandments provide the moral background of the Declaration of Independence and the foundation of our legal tradition.
(2) In 1215, King John of England consented to the demands of his barons and agreed for The Magna Carta to be publicly read throughout the land. By this act he bound himself and 'our heirs, in all things and all places for ever' to grant to the people of his kingdom the rights pronounced in The Magna Carta. By signing The Magna Carta, King John brought himself and England's future rulers within the rule of law. The rule of law places a restraint on the exercise of arbitrary government power, and it places all people and civil government under law. The American patriots, therefore, waged war against England to preserve liberties originating in Thirteenth Century England. A distinction, however, is noted between The Magna Carta and the American concept of liberty. While The Magna Carta is a guarantee from a king that he will follow the law, the Constitution of the United States is the establishment of a government consisting of, and created for, 'We the People'.
(3) The Mayflower Compact was penned by William Bradford on November 11, 1620, on the Mayflower before the Pilgrims made landfall at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The compact was the first written constitution in the New World. William Bradford described the reasoning behind the compact when he stated in the compact: 'This day, before we came to harbour, observing some not well affected to unity and concord, but gave some appearance of faction, it was thought good there should be an association and agreement, that we should combine together in one body, and to submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands to this that follows, word for word'.
(4) Perhaps the single most important document in American history, The Declaration of Independence was, as Abraham Lincoln stated, the 'frame' into which the framers placed the Constitution. A fundamental premise of the Declaration of Independence is that 'all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights'. While these rights are not given by government, they are protected by government. Moreover, government is a creation of 'the governed' and derives all its power from the consent of its people. As the Preamble to the United States Constitution states, 'We the People' are the government.
(5) During the debates on the adoption of the United States Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a 'bill of rights' that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered. The Bill of Rights is still a vital and powerful force in American government, shaping our laws and serving as a check on the exercise of government power.
(6) Guarding the entrance to Baltimore harbor via the Patapsco River during the War of 1812, Fort McHenry faced almost certain attack by British forces. Major George Armistead, the stronghold's commander, was ready to defend the fort but he wanted a flag that would identify his position, one whose size would be visible to the enemy from a distance. The flag that was made for the fort was thirty feet by forty-two feet. Anxiously awaiting news of the battle's outcome was a Washington, D.C. lawyer named Francis Scott Key. Key had visited the enemy's fleet to secure the release of a Maryland doctor who had been abducted by the British after they left Washington. The lawyer had been successful in his mission, but he could not escort the doctor home until the attack ended. So he waited on a flag-of-truce sloop anchored eight miles downstream from Fort McHenry.
During the night, there had been only occasional sounds of the fort's guns returning fire. At dawn, the British bombardment tapered off. Had the fort been captured? Placing a telescope to his eye, Key trained it on the fort's flagpole. There he saw the large garrison flag catch the morning breeze. It had been raised as a gesture of defiance, replacing the wet storm flag that had flown through the night. Thrilled by the sight of the flag and the knowledge that the fort had not fallen, Key took a letter from his pocket and began to write some verses on the back of it. Later, after the British fleet had withdrawn, Key checked into a Baltimore hotel and completed his poem on the defense of Fort McHenry. He then sent it to a printer for duplication on handbills, and within a few days the poem was put to the music of an old English song. Both the new song and the flag became known as 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and became a rallying cry for the American Patriots during the rest of the war.
(7) The Preamble to the South Carolina Constitution recognizes that the people, grateful for the liberties they enjoy, have established the Constitution of the State of South Carolina to preserve and perpetuate a civilized society.
(8) Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of women's suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.
(9) The national motto was derived from the line 'And this be our motto, "In God is our trust" ' in the national anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. The phrase first appeared on United States' coins in 1864 and became obligatory on all United States' currency in 1955. In accordance with Public Law No. 851 passed at the Second Session of the 84th Congress of the United States, July 30, 1956, the national motto of the United States became 'In God We Trust'.
(10) Lady Justice has become a symbol of the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor. The blindfold represents a system of justice that is blinded to all prejudices or favor. The scales represent justice that is administered fairly and the sword represents justice that is authoritative. Lady Justice is a symbol of the American system of justice and the ideals it embodies.
(11) The Lord's Prayer, used to teach people how best to seek their daily needs, is a model of philosophy and inspiration for legal and moral systems throughout the ages. In the colonies, James Oglethorpe brought debtors to freedom in our neighboring State of Georgia in remembrance of 'forgiving our debts as we forgive our debtors'.
(12) The Emancipation Proclamation, signed on January 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln, provided that the slaves in all parts of the United States and in the states then in rebellion were forever free. The penultimate paragraph states, 'And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God'.
(13) 'I Have A Dream' is the popular name given to the historic public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., when he spoke of his desire for a future where blacks and whites, among others, would coexist harmoniously as equals. King's delivery of the speech on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over two hundred thousand civil rights supporters, the speech is often considered to be one of the greatest and most notable speeches in history and was ranked the top American speech of the 20th Century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
(E) All documents which are included in a Foundations of American Law and Government display must be posted on paper not less than eleven by fourteen inches in dimension and must be framed in identically-styled frames. One document may not be displayed more prominently than another.
(F) State funding may be used for a Foundations of American Law and Government display.
(G) In order that each municipality, county, or other political subdivision of this State including, but not limited to, a school board, may have access to advice on the current status of the law concerning the Foundations of American Law and Government display, as described in this section, the Attorney General's office shall prepare a statement of the applicable constitutional law and, upon request, make that statement available to a member of the General Assembly or a municipality, county, or other political subdivision. As necessary, the Attorney General's office shall update this statement to reflect any changes made in the law. The Attorney General's office may make the statement available through the most economical and convenient method including, but not limited to, posting the statement on a web site.
(H) Nothing in this section prohibits a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of this State, including, but not limited to, a school board, from developing its own policy on the display of any one or all of the documents included in the Foundations of American Law and Government display, as described in this section, based upon advice from legal counsel.
(I) An advisory committee is established to make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Department of Archives and History regarding the public representations of the Foundations of American Law and Government display documents, the appropriate information to be included in the display, and recommendations concerning other documents to be added to the list for the display. The committee must submit an annual report to the Commission for the Department of Archives and History, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The committee shall be appointed by the Commission of the Department of Archives and History to consist of:
(1) a member appointed upon the recommendation of the South Carolina Attorney General;
(2) a member appointed upon the recommendation of the South Carolina Historical Association;
(3) a member appointed upon the recommendation of the South Carolina History Society;
(4) a member with expertise in legal history to be appointed upon the recommendation of the Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law and the Dean of the Charleston School of Law; and
(5) a member with expertise in United States or South Carolina history appointed upon the recommendation of the presidents of the research universities of South Carolina."
SECTION 3. If any section, subsection, item, subitem, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, item, subitem, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, items, subitems, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 5th day of June, 2008.
Approved the 11th day of June, 2008.
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