If the flag is furled, NAACP boycott could end in days

The Confederate battle flag flies at the Confederate Soldier’s Monument in front of the Statehouse. If S.C. lawmakers vote to remove the flag from the grounds in the days ahead, the NAACP’s 15-year-old economic boycott of South Carolina could be lifted in short order.

If S.C. lawmakers vote to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds in the days ahead — as is widely anticipated — the NAACP’s 15-year-old economic boycott of South Carolina could be lifted in short order.

S.C. NAACP President Lonnie Randolph Jr. said a likely scenario if the flag effort passes is for South Carolina officials to bring a request to the annual NAACP convention in Philadelphia later this month to lift the embargo via emergency resolution.

“We’re prepared to do that if the measure is addressed in a respectful and proper manner,” Randolph said.

All of the country’s NAACP chapters have signed on to honor the boycott, Randolph said, after lawmakers voted in 2000 to move the flag from the Statehouse dome to the Confederate Soldier’s Monument as part of a legislative compromise.

The effectiveness of the boycott has been an issue of debate in some circles. Hundreds of family reunions, star athletes and sports organizations have been among the most prominent supporters of not traveling, spending money or holding events here for more than a decade, Randolph said.

The Philadelphia convention runs July 11 to 15.

A heated war of words has broken out involving two Charleston attorneys over Magistrate James “Skipper” Gosnell’s awkward handling of accused Emanuel AME Church gunman Dylann Roof’s bond hearing.

In a letter to S.C. Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal, attorney Frank McCann called local defense lawyer Andy Savage “the most pompous and media seeking lawyer in Charleston.”

The letter came after Savage was widely critical of Gosnell’s opening speech during Roof’s initial court appearance on nine charges of murder.

In front of a nationally televised audience, Gosnell started the hearing by saying: “There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. We must find it in our heart at some point in time to not only help those who are victims but to also help his family as well.”

Savage trashed Gosnell’s comments. On Facebook he called them “unprecedented and unwelcome,” and that Gosnell was a “presiding pompous judge.” Savage represents shooting survivor Felicia Sanders, whose son died in the attack.

McCann, former head of the Charleston Bar Association, responded by firing off a letter to Toal defending Gosnell’s two decades of service. He also called Savage out for being a self-promotional media-seeker who was attacking a judge while improperly disclosing he’d previously represented Gosnell in a disciplinary matter.

“I intend to do something about this,” McCann said in the letter, which was widely distributed across the state and in the local legal community. He added, “I hope you will do something about it too.”

McCann called on the judges to help another judge who cannot speak publicly on his own behalf.

The letter marks a diversion from how the two men began their careers. Both attended Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y., and previously worked together as solicitors in the 5th and 9th circuits.

“Whether you are the bank president or the serial killer, you’re entitled to equal treatment under the law,” McCann said last week. “And if a judge follows the law, he shouldn’t be called names by a local lawyer.”

Savage declined comment, his office said.

A new Republican strategy to add numbers to its voting scrolls is to register voters during this year’s NASCAR season, including at the race track in Darlington.

The kickoff starts this weekend in Florida and will carry on to sites around the country heading into the 2016 cycle.

With its huge fan following and a large concentration of race tracks in the South, the move combines the country’s most popular site sport with reaching a mostly conservative audience.

“We hope to have an army of volunteers attending with clipboards and voter registration forms,” said S.C. Party Chairman Matt Moore. “Our team will go anywhere, any time to register voters this election cycle.”

Darlington’s big weekend is Labor Day and includes the Bojangles’ Southern 500.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson didn’t have any special political appearances planned in Charleston last Thursday, so he walked around The Market area downtown, talking to people.

He bought a palm frond rose made by a local vendor and also stopped by Emanuel AME Church, site of the June 17 shooting of nine church members.

“It’s really quite an amazing place,” he said, praising the power of Christian forgiveness and belief the parishioners have shown in the aftermath.

Carson said he supported what state leaders are doing in addressing the Confederate flag at the Statehouse but also pointed out there was a danger that political correctness may run amok as a result of the flag backlash. He questioned whether networks would stop showing certain movies if they contain the Nazi flag or similar emblem.

He did have words of praise for the artisan who crafted the frond rose. “It’s fascinating watching them put those things together,” he said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be here Wednesday for his fifth visit to South Carolina. Event: Beaufort County GOP Meet and Greet, noon at Aunt Chiladas Restaurant, Hilton Head Island; 4:30 p.m., Lake House Ballroom Sun City North, Bluffton.

Compiled by political reporter Schuyler Kropf