The South Carolina Supreme Court has stayed a lower court's temporary restraining order that had blocked the airing of TV spots pushing for the defeat of Republican Attorney General candidate Alan Wilson.
A district court judge had ordered the ads off the air June 19, saying their was some question whether the group behind the ads, the South Carolina Truth Squad, had complied with state ethics laws on transparency required of ads advocating the election or defeat of a candidate in the 45 days before a election -- in this case before the run-off for the Republican nomination for attorney general between Leighton Lord and Wilson.
"Based on the information presented to the court and available at this time, there is a serious question as to whether the airing of this ad across the state of South Carolina to advocate the defeat of the candidate for attorney general, wihout complying with the transparency provisions, is legal and/or permissible," said judge Knox McMahon.
The Truth Squad challenged the decision the same day and the Supreme Court stayed the restraining order. That court said that the order was apparently issued without notice to the Truth Squad and containts "no discussion of the First Amendment issues related to the issuance of an order restraining political speech.
A hearing on the issue has been scheduled in the Supreme Court for Monday afternoon.
At issue is about $60,000 in spots on local TV stations and other media outlets.
The Truth Sqad's effort to unseat Wilson in the run-up to the election was made possible by the United States' Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, in which the court found that limits on ads advocating or opposing the election of a candidate within 45 days of the election were an unconstitutional restriction on political speech.