Will Stimulus Spending In SC End Up At SCOTUS?

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Gov. Mark Sanford had hoped that by making his case to a federal judge, he'd find a more sympathetic ear. Today, a federal judge said that such disputes more properly reside in the jurisidiction of the state supreme court. Trouble was, that court had already rejected a hearing because the budget in question had not passed the state legislature. Well, now it has -- and the state supreme court will take up the case soon. The state faces a July 1 deadline to apply for the stimulus money. Sanford, you'll recall, doesn't want to accept $700 million in stimulus money because he fears an unfunded mandate and a power grab by the feds; the state legislature wants the money; two students filed suit to force Sanford to ask for all the money at once; Sanford contends that his executive authority, and not the legislature, should determine whether to accept money that the federal government offers. The federal government has a different interpretation but so far has not had the chance to argue against Sanford in court. Assuming that the state supreme court forces Sanford to accept the money -- a good guess -- the governor might try his hand at a Supreme Court cert petition, although he said late today that he would accept whatever the state court decides to do.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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