Even though criticism continues to rage that the Confederate Flag in the grounds of South Carolina’s State House was not hung at half mast in respect to the nine people allegedly slaughtered by gunman and self stated racist Dylann Storm Roof last week in Charleston, it seems, no one, including the State’s Governor Nikki Haley, can do anything about it.
“In South Carolina, the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag,” a Haley spokesman said. “Only the General Assembly can do that.”
There is also a physical obstacle that prevents the flag from being lowered – it’s affixed to the pole, not on a pulley system and can’t come down unless someone climbs the flag pole and pulls it down — which would be illegal anyway.
South Carolina has been attacked about its capitol’s Confederate flag ever since it went up in the capitol in 1962 despite the burgeoning civil rights movement.
The law that keeps the flag flying high even while the USA flags limp at half mast, says the flag cannot fly from the capitol dome, but must appear at a memorial to fallen confederate soldiers, who fought under the flag, that is located near the dome. The flag is permitted to appear in legislators’ offices within the capitol building. The law even specifies the type of flag, its placement, and the dimensions of its display.
“This flag must be flown on a flagpole located at a point on the south side of the Confederate Soldier Monument, centered on the monument, ten feet from the base of the monument at a height of thirty feet,” it reads. “The flagpole on which the flag is flown and the area adjacent to the monument and flagpole must be illuminated at night and an appropriate decorative iron fence must be erected around the flagpole.”.
The law may only be amended or repealed on the passing of an act which has received a two-thirds vote on the third reading of the bill in each branch of the General Assembly.
This means that any changes to the flag policy will require near unanimous agreement from South Carolinian lawmakers, which are currently debating the issue.