In 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck down section 4b of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act prevented certain jurisdictions from changing their election laws without getting the approval of the federal government. This was done in response to decades of voter discrimination, primarily in the South, that had prevented African Americans from exercising the right to vote. Section 4b determined which jurisdictions section 5 applied to. One of those jurisdictions was the state of South Carolina. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the discriminatory concerns that the Voting Rights Act sought to address were no longer an issue in the jurisdictions covered by section 4b. In response to the Supreme Court's decision, Attorney General Wilson issued the following statement: "For nearly 50 years, Sections 4 and 5 have imposed an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty in certain states, including South Carolina. Over time, great strides have been made and Sections 4 and 5 have become obsolete. Today’s decision means the voting rights of all citizens will continue to be protected under the Voting Rights Act without requiring a different formula for states wishing to implement reasonable election reforms, such as voter ID laws similar to South Carolina’s. This is a victory for all voters as all states can now act equally without some having to ask for permission or being required to jump through the extraordinary hoops demanded by federal bureaucracy."
On August 10, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Mark Gergel ordered Wilson to reimburse $135,000 in attorney fees and ancillary legal costs to a same-sex couple who sued the state of South Carolina in October 2014 after being denied a marriage license. The lawsuit challenged the legality of South Carolina's enforcement of a ban on gay marriage following a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that such a ban was unconstitutional. Led by Wilson and Governor Nikki Haley (R), South Carolina appealed the court's ruling and did not issue marriage licenses to gay couples, including the plaintiffs. The U.S. Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in all 50 states neutralized South Carolina's appeal to the 4th Circuit and brought the cost of the couple's legal challenge to bear on the state. Wilson said that his efforts squared with the attorney general's chief duty to defend state law.
On July 13, 2016, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 decision that special prosecutor David Pascoe could continue an investigation into public corruption in the state legislature after he was removed from the case by Attorney General Wilson. Wilson had appointed Pascoe in 2014 to lead the State Law Enforcement Department (SLED) probe into former House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R); Harrell pleaded guilty to six counts of using campaign funds for personal use in October 2014. Wilson recused himself from the investigation in mid-2015, citing a conflict of interest. At that time, Wilson again appointed Pascoe to lead the probe; however, in early 2016, Wilson removed Pascoe from the case after Pascoe attempted to empanel a grand jury to further the investigation. Wilson's office claimed that the special prosecutor did not have the power to convene a grand jury, and asserted that Pascoe was incompetent and "difficult to work with." Pascoe appealed the decision to the state courts. In the Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Costa Pleicones wrote: “ We conclude Pascoe has met his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence [that] he was vested with the authority to act as the Attorney General in the redacted legislators matter, and that this authority necessarily included the power to initiate a state grand jury investigation. ”
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