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South Carolina Supreme Court Will Let TV Spots Air

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 South Carolina's attorney general.

A district court judge had ordered the ads off the air Saturday, June 19, saying there 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 an election. In this case, the election is the run-off for the Republican nomination for attorney general.

"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 advaocate 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 contains "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.