As was anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the rule of law, Cindi Scoppe was aghast at our governor’s behavior last week, both when she goaded the state GOP to defy the law in order to help rid her of a troublesome senator, and when her office responded childishly to the State Election Commission’s refusal to play along.
But Cindi wasn’t struck speechless. From her column Sunday:
If the governor had been the one speaking, she might have added, L’etat, c’est moi.
At least when Louis XIV said it, he had a legal basis to do so. He was, after all, an absolute monarch.
When our founding fathers created this nation, they didn’t just reject the British monarch. They rejected the idea of a monarchy. They rejected imperial rule. And nowhere in the fledgling nation was that concept more thoroughly rejected than here in South Carolina.
The governor of South Carolina isn’t even a real governor. Yet this one fancies herself royalty. An autocrat. With the divine right of queens. L’etat, c’est moi.
She had already demonstrated that she was hypocritical. And careless with the truth. And imperious. Now add lawless. And contemptuous.
Actually, it’s the court that needs to add that last one.
Although the Election Commission blocked the party’s effort to defy a court order, that doesn’t change the fact that the party, at the urging of our governor, acted in a way that was “calculated to obstruct, degrade, and undermine the administration of justice.” That’s the definition of contempt of court, which our Supreme Court has said judges should punish in order to “preserve the authority and dignity of their courts.”
The court cannot ignore such blatant disregard for its orders. It needs to find the governor in contempt. And while it’s at it, it should do the same to the state Republican Party, and the Florence County Republican Party. This is about far more than the candidates who have been mistreated by our state. It’s about the authority of the court itself.
But Nikki Haley wouldn’t know anything about that.