Politics & Government

Federal judge sends stimulus lawsuits back to S.C. Supreme Court

The state's top court should decide whether the governor or Legislature has control over the disputed $700 million in federal stimulus money, a federal judge ruled today in two lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson sent the two state lawsuits that Gov. Mark Sanford wanted a federal court to decide back to the five-member S.C. Supreme Court. Anderson announced his ruling after a hearing in Columbia; his formal written order is expected later this afternoon.

Anderson retained jurisdiction in a third, related federal lawsuit filed by Sanford, though he likely won't rule on it before a decision by the state's top court.

The Supreme Court last week was poised to hear a lawsuit filed by Chapin High School senior Casey Edwards and USC law student Justin Williams but was forced to cancel the Thursday hearing after Sanford, who was allowed by the court to join the suit, requested that it be heard by a federal judge.

Sanford earlier last week moved that the other suit before the Supreme Court, filed by the S.C. Association of School Administrators against Sanford, be transferred to federal court.

The Supreme Court could hear the students' suit as early as this week, with a ruling issued before a July 1 federal deadline to apply for the stimulus money, though the high court isn't bound by any deadline. A quick ruling would allow Anderson to rule on the federal suit before the deadline.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.