Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government Monthly Quiz

True or False: South Carolina courts have ruled that a local ordinance is a legislative enactment and presumed constitutional upon adoption.

Answer: True.

Ordinances have the presumption of constitutionality, but they can be challenged. The burden of proving that a local ordinance is invalid rests with the party challenging the ordinance. The 2011 case Sandlands C & D, LLC v. Horry County established a two-step judicial review process that courts can follow to make a determination on the ordinance's validity. First, the court determines whether the local government has the power to enact the ordinance — in other words, whether there has been any preemptive legislation by the state. If the court finds that the local government did have the power to pass the ordinance, then it determines whether the ordinance is consistent with the South Carolina Constitution and Code of Laws. If the court finds that it is, then the ordinance is valid.

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