A lawsuit in another part of South Carolina has delayed a decision on whether the York County Clerk of Court has the legal right to keep a version of the Confederate flag and pictures of Confederate generals out of a York County courtroom.
York County has not received a requested South Carolina Attorney General opinion the flag debate because of a pending lawsuit in Greenwood on whether the Heritage Act is constitutional.
That means for now, a version of the Confederate flag and pictures of Confederate generals will not be displayed in the courtroom. The controversy has simmered in York County for months. A judge in York County earlier this month tossed a North Carolina man’s lawsuit demanding the flag and pictures be returned.
Michael Kendree, York County’s attorney, said Wednesday the status of the courtroom remains the same -- no Confederate flag or pictures.
It is unclear whether any action will be taken by York County officials as the debate remains between Confederate flag supporters and those who say a symbol of slavery has no place in a courtroom.
After deciding earlier this year not to put the items back in the courtroom because a Confederate flag and pictures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are not monuments or memorials, Kendree and York County Clerk of Court David Hamilton formally requested in March that the S.C. Attorney General issue an opinion. But Robert Kittle, spokesman for the attorney general, told The Herald on Wednesday that the office will not issue an opinion until a judge in the pending lawsuit in Greenwood issues a ruling.
“We are doing research on that opinion (requested from York County) and have been since it was requested,” Kittle wrote to The Herald in a statement. “However, there is a pending lawsuit over whether the Heritage Act is constitutional. Since the state is the defendant in that lawsuit, the Attorney General’s Office is not going to issue an opinion until after the judge rules on the constitutionality of the Heritage Act.”
Several people in Greenwood filed a lawsuit in 2015 saying the Heritage Act is unconstitutional after they were rebuffed in an attempt to remove a city monument that separates “white” and “colored” soldiers by race.