The state’s top court ruled unanimously Thursday that Gov. Mark Sanford must apply for the disputed $700 million in federal stimulus money.
The S.C. Supreme Court also took the rare step of issuing a writ of mandamus, which orders the governor to apply for the money.
Chief Justice Jean Toal and three of the four other justices — Donald Beatty, John Kittredge and John Waller — said a state law passed last month requires Sanford to apply for the money and doesn’t conflict with the federal law providing the stimulus funds.
“Under the constitution and laws of this State, the General Assembly is the sole entity with the power to appropriate funds, including federal funds,” the four justices wrote. “Therefore, the General Assembly has the authority to mandate that the Governor apply for federal funds which it has appropriated.”
In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Costa Pleicones said state lawmakers complied with an amendment of the federal law — proposed by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn in response to Sanford’s refusal to accept the money — by adopting a concurrent resolution accepting the funds and passing a law designating how the money will be spent.
I do not understand how Sanford can sleep at night refusing dollars targeted for education, when his own state's system is in such disrepair according even to students like Casey Edwards (a plaintiff in the recent case) that it merited a documentary on the terrible conditions.
And since this is a South Carolina court, and presumably the product of GOP appointments, it'll be interesting to see how the RWNM tries to spin the decision.
H/T ThinkProgress - who have a similarly scathing take.