Governor's Counsel Removes Second Case to Federal Court
Counsel for Governor Mark Sanford today removed the second of two actions regarding a disputed $700 million in stimulus funds to federal court.
The governor was made a respondent today in the suit - originally filed by former S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian and former video poker operative Dwight Drake - and after consideration filed to remove that suit to federal court as well, because it primarily deals with federal law.
Yesterday, the governor's counsel filed to remove the S.C. Association of School Administrators suit to federal court. On Friday a federal judge will receive briefs and on Monday will hear arguments on whether to keep that case in federal court.
Last week, the governor filed suit in federal court over the federal law issues in the case. The governor's counsel has requested that the federal court consolidate all three cases in one court and that the question of federal jurisdiction be decided on an expedited basis, namely whether to keep the Harpootlian-Drake suit in its purview, as well as the school administrators' suit.
The governor said he holds the S.C. Supreme Court in the highest regard and means no slight to this Court in removing the Harpootlian-Drake case. His counsel believes that consolidating the three cases involving federal law in one forum will mean that the issues will be decided quickly.
"This issue is one that needs to be decided quickly because of the very legitimate questions it raises about the balance of power and the separation of powers in South Carolina, and we're pleased that all signs are pointing toward an expedited resolution," Gov. Sanford said.