The relevant law here in South Carolina is called The Heritage Act of 2000 (Act 292, codified as Section 10-1-165 of the South Carolina Code of Laws). In recent days, I've seen it said many times, by our politicians, our citizens, and our media, that the Heritage Act prevents the monuments on the State House grounds from being moved or modified without a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly.
I disagree. By my reading, the list of monuments, things, and places that the act covers does not include the Tillman statue. Here is what it says:
"SECTION 10-1-165. Protection of certain monuments and memorials.
(A) No Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, War Between the States, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Native American, or African-American History monuments or memorials erected on public property of the State or any of its political subdivisions may be relocated, removed, disturbed, or altered. No street, bridge, structure, park, preserve, reserve, or other public area of the State or any of its political subdivisions dedicated in memory of or named for any historic figure or historic event may be renamed or rededicated. No person may prevent the public body responsible for the monument or memorial from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation, and care of these monuments, memorials, or nameplates.
(B) The provisions of this section may only be amended or repealed upon passage of an act which has received a two-thirds vote on the third reading of the bill in each branch of the General Assembly.
HISTORY: 2000 Act No. 292, Section 3."
The Tillman statue is not covered by either of those.
The Tillman statue is not related to any war: he did not serve in the Confederate army, the monument itself makes no mention of the Confederacy or the Civil War, and Tillman is depicted in civilian clothes. This is not a war monument, plain and simple, and is not a monument or memorial to Native American or African American history. The Tillman statue is not covered under the first sentence of part (A) of the code.
The second sentence of part (A) of the code doesn't apply to statues at all, but to a "street, bridge, structure, park, preserve, reserve, or other public area." And before you try to argue that the statue could be "structure," I will point out that this sentence prohibits renaming and rededication. This sentence isn't about monuments and memorials, but places and things that have been named after famous persons. The Tillman statue is not covered under the second sentence of part (B) of the code.
So what, then, in the law requires a 2/3 majority vote to remove or alter the Tillman statue? I'm no lawyer, but I'm not seeing it here. Perhaps there is some other part of the law that I haven't seen yet. If so, I hope someone will point it out to me. This part of the code clearly doesn't apply to the statue of Benjamin Tillman (or the statue of J. Marion Sims, or, for that matter, Strom Thurmond). Any lawyers care to weigh in?