Fox News Channel "Your World" - Transcript
Fox News Channel "Your World" Interview With South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R)
Interviewer: Neil Cavuto
Subject: State Supreme Court Ruling on Federal Stimulus Funds
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MR. CAVUTO: Well, if the czars don't scare you, maybe a state's highest court will. The South Carolina Supreme Court just ruling that Republican Governor Mark Sanford must take $700 million in stimulus cash, cash the governor has long said he doesn't want and believes the state doesn't need. Governor Sanford joins me now by phone.
Governor, so the judge is saying, take it or else. What are you going to do?
GOV. SANFORD: We've said we're not going to appeal, you know, the Supreme Court decision. We think it's a mistaken decision. We think it's certainly horrendous for South Carolina taxpayers and a horrible decision in the long run in terms of national policy. But it is what it is. And we fought it with every tool available as a sitting governor. And the court has decided, and we're going to live by what they decided.
MR. CAVUTO: All right. Now, the court's argument for taking this money was what? That this was not a decision you should make, this was money provided by the federal government for the folks in your state, and you were not arguing on their behalf? Could you explain their reason?
GOV. SANFORD: Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that. There's some fairly serious strings attached that go with governance in South Carolina. We have a broken political system. Our constitution of 1895 was created by, quote, "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman. It was a racist constitution built around the fear that a black man would be elected governor of South Carolina -- (inaudible) -- South Carolina. So a lot of the traditional functions of executive branch were diffused into the wind with that 1895 constitution.
And so the court's decision was predicated on a flawed constitutional model that did not entail balance of power. What it says is basically the legislative body reins supreme. If they decide that they want to spend the money and, in this case, if they decide they want you to spend federal money that, again, the other 49 governors in this country have discretion over, that they're right.
And so we knew that once it went into the state court system, our number was cooked. We tried to get it into the federal court system because we thought we might get a fair hearing there. We were not successful in doing so. So we were not surprised at all by what the South Carolina Supreme Court decided.
Mind you, in South Carolina, the Supreme Court is appointed by the legislative body.
MR. CAVUTO: All right. But real quickly, some weird stuff going on. I'm connecting different dots here. But you have a court that's forcing you to take money you don't want, companies that want to give back bailout money and they cannot. And just in the prior segment, you might have heard, whole agencies and chieftains set up through czarships or whatever you want to call them, and we don't have any say. I'm just saying it is a disturbing trend on paper to look at, is it not?
GOV. SANFORD: It really is. And that's why I think that there's something going on with those tea parties that occurred back in April in that there is a genuine unrest in this country where people are saying, I can't exactly put my arms around what's going on right now, it doesn't feel good, something isn't right. And the bottom line is what's not right is that we are undoing 200 years of tradition tied to some principles that made this country great. And if we keep going on the route we're on, I think we'll be met with disastrous consequences.
MR. CAVUTO: Governor, thank you very much. We appreciate your views.