Stimulus funds tussle spills over into the courts

As you return to work from your long holiday weekend, you may have discovered that the judicial branch of government is being included in the state’s executive and legislative branches’ battle over stimulus money.The General Assembly and Governor Mark Sanford’s battle over $700 million in stimulus money has spilled over into the court system. Governor Sanford filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop legislators from forcing his hand to spend the portion of the federal stimulus dollars he can apply for unless they’re used to pay down state debt. The White House has twice refused Sanford’s request to use the money for that purpose. Sanford called his suit a “pre-emptive strike” against a lawsuit that has been filed in the State Supreme Court.
Friday Chapin High School senior Casey Endwards refiled her lawsuit in the State Supreme Court to force the state to request the $700 million in stimulus funds intended for education. Edwards lawsuit was set aside by the State Supreme Court last month as premature. USC law student Justin Williams was added to Casey’s suit as plaintiff.
The South Carolina Association of School Administrators have also filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court against the Governor and State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex. Association officials says Rex was added in the suit because the Governor’s actions have impaired Rex’s ability to perform his duties.
The State Supreme Court has given Governor Sanford and the plaintiffs in the case a Tuesday deadline to file papers outlining their repective positions in the cases.