Bar Association Angered By Haley Attack Ad: Legal Defense Is ‘Constitutional Right’

The South Carolina Bar Association is calling for Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) reelection campaign to take down an attack ad that hits her Democratic opponent’s background as a defense attorney.

The bar argues the ad wrongly attacks defense attorneys in bashing state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D).

“That’s a basic tenent of the Constitution,” South Carolina Bar Association President Alice Paylor said on Wednesday according to the Post and Courier. “What they’re attacking is the whole basis of the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution. According to them, I guess everyone accused of something is automatically guilty.”

The gist of the Haley campaign ad hits Sheheen for defending “violent criminals” as a defense lawyer.

“Sheheen defended violent criminals who abused women and went to work setting them free so the next time Sheheen said he went to work defending violent criminals, ask him what about the ones who paid him?” the narrator in the ad said. “Vincent Sheheen protects criminals, not us.”

The bar association has also launched a website condemning the ad.

In response, Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson said the ad doesn’t target defense lawyers, rather it targets Sheheen for representing sex offenders and violent criminals.

The bar association also stressed that it is not endorsing Sheheen’s campaign (the group doesn’t usually get involved in political campaigns). Instead its objection is over the fact that the ad attacks defense lawyers.

Watch the ad below:

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