2011-10-21 / Business

Attorney General Wilson reports

By John Temple Ligon

SCAG Alan Wilson 
Photo by Mike Maddock SCAG Alan Wilson Photo by Mike Maddock At lunchtime Monday, October 17, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke to the Columbia Rotary at Seawell’s on Rosewood. He announced up front he wanted to be sure to cover just a few major issues, giving each due disclosure and not taking all afternoon.

First, he said he would talk about his office in historical and general terms. Then he planned to discuss the problems with the National Labor Relations Board and Boeing, his healthcare lawsuit and objections to Obamacare, and the discontinued national nuclear power plant waste site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Founded on February 5, 1698, the attorney general’s office is almost a century older than the state and the country. The first attorney general, Nicholas Trott, came to Charleston in 1699 after a stint as attorney general in Bermuda and after further training in the law at London’s Inner Temple.

In 1719, after the Lords Proprietors were removed and the private enterprise that became South Carolina went through a phase as a royal colony, Trott left public service to enter a private life of law and scholarship. Trott wrote the first legal codes for South Carolina, which influenced all of colonial America.

In June, General Wilson, inspired by Trott authored an amicus brief with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on behalf of a bipartisan, 16- state coalition in opposition to the National Labor Relations Board and its proposal to punish employers (such as Boeing) for creating new jobs in right-towork states. To quote from Wilson’s and Abbott’s amicus brief:

The NLRB has misconstrued federal law in its complaint. In fact, the federal government’s actions contradict federal law, which al lows states to enact right- to- work laws without fear of retaliation from the NLRB. Unless deterred, the NLRB’s unprecedented proceedings against a company’s private business decisions willcause irreparable harm to the business climate in every state and will undoubtedly create an exodus of jobs from our country... More than a year after Boeing invested millions of dollars constructing i ts South Carol ina facilityand only weeks before the new assembly l ine was scheduled to begin operations - the NLRB’s General counsel filed the proposed enforcement action against Boeing. If the legally baseless proposal survives the federal administrative process, NLRB could be empowered to micromanage private sector business decisions and improperly force Boeing to close i t South Carolina facility. Boeing, Wilson pointed out, once fully operational has a $6.1 billion annual impact in South Carolina.

In his disagreements with the Obama administration and its healthcare creation known as Obamacare, Wilson thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will finally rule on the constitutional question in a 5-4 decision. Which way it will go, Wilson guessed, no one knows. But Wilson fully expects to see a 5-4 vote.

Last January in Florida, Federal Judge Roger Vinson ruled that it was unconstitutional for Congress to produce a law that required American citizens to buy commercial insurance. Wilson’s office immediately issued a release:

Judge Vinson’s ruling is a tremendous victory for taxpayers and the Constitution. If the National Health Care law’s unconstitutional mandate was allowed to stand, individual rights would be trampled, smal l business would be crippled, and our state would be pushed ever closer toward fiscal ruin.

Moving to his last issue, Yucca Mountain in Nevada, Wilson said South Carolina electric power rate payers had paid out around $1.3 billion to help with the costs of the national nuclear waste repository site. South Carolina is the third highest paying state in the country in its payments for Yucca Mountain. Congress has declared Yucca Mountain no longer a national nuclear waste repository. Wilson is calling for the return of South Carolina’s $1.3 billion.

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