Left: South Carolina state flag.
As you know by now, our Idiot-in-Charge, Governor Sanford, declined a hefty portion of the federal economic stimulus funds, due to some Ayn Randian nonsense he subscribes to. Unfortunately, the "tea party" protest against the economic bailout/stimulus here in upstate SC was nearly 10,000 strong last week, one of the largest in the country. I am sure Sanford perceived this sordid event as a sign of political support, even if the dopey tea parties are basically aimed at the federal government and President Obama. (I told you I lived in possibly the most conservative county in the USA!)
An 18-year-old high school senior, Casey Edwards, filed a lawsuit, which has been thrown out (for now):
State high court declines to hear stimulus suit
Justices rule Legislature must act first before decision can be made
Nice try! But as stated before, I still think we are fucked.
COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a high school senior's legal petition asking the court to decide whether the Legislature can bypass Gov. Mark Sanford to accept $700 million in federal stimulus funds but left the door open to hear the case if the Legislature appropriates the money.
State Attorney General Henry McMaster had argued that the case wasn't yet legally "ripe" for court review because some action had to be taken, either the Legislature appropriating the money or passing a resolution to accept it.
The justices on Wednesday agreed, denying a review "at this time."
"We find this action is not ripe and appropriate for judicial determination unless or until the General Assembly has taken, as it is authorized to do, measures to appropriate the funds at issue," the court said.
"Until that time, there is no real and substantial controversy, as opposed to a contingent, hypothetical or abstract dispute, upon which this court can render a declaratory judgment."
Dwight Drake, one of the student's Columbia lawyers, said he believes the order is "good news."
"The Legislature was going to have to appropriate the funds before they could get to the schools anyway," he said. "Some people in the Legislature had argued the Legislature could not appropriate the funds. The court order says they can appropriate the funds."
McMaster responded by saying the order gives Sanford and the Legislature time to resolve the matter "free of any extraneous complications."
The governor has refused to apply for $700 million of $2.8 billion available to the state over two years unless lawmakers agree to spend an equal amount to reduce state debt.
Joel Sawyer, Sanford's spokesman, said the justice's order Wednesday "confirms what we said all along, that the governor is the one who has the authority to request the money. So there really is no issue for the court to resolve here."
Legislators have predicted for weeks the issue would eventually wind up in the courts. State Attorney General Henry McMaster, in an opinion weeks ago, said he thought Sanford had to apply for the money but said if the Legislature also requested it, the issue would have to be settled by the courts.
The petition that triggered Wednesday's order was filed last week by Casey Edwards, an 18-year-old senior at Chapin High School who said she is concerned about the impact on schools if the state doesn't receive the $700 million in stimulus funds.
The House has included one year's worth of the stimulus funding at issue in its budget plan. A Senate plan now being debated also would use the money.