Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Supreme Court acts by not acting

Twitter has been all a... twitter... since the SC Supreme Court issued it's ruling not to rule on a lawsuit brought by Chapin High Senior Casey Edwards against the State.
And while Sanford supporters are probably elated by this turn of events it's always important to look at the fine print, and in this case the legal context
We find this action is not ripe and appropriate for judicial determination unless or until the General Assembly has taken, as it is authorized to do, measures to appropriate the funds at issue.  See State ex rel. Condon v. Hodges, 349 S.C. 232, 562 S.E.2d 623 (2002)(the General Assembly has the duty and authority to appropriate money as necessary for the operation of the agencies of government and has the right to specify the conditions under which the appropriated monies shall be spent); Gilstrap v. South Carolina Budget and Control Bd., 310 S.C. 210, 423 S.E.2d 101 (1992) (the appropriation of public funds is a legislative function); Clarke v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth., 177 S.C. 427, 181 S.E. 481 (1935)(the General Assembly has full authority to make appropriations as it deems wise in absence of any specific constitutional prohibition against the appropriation).  Until that time, there is no real and substantial controversy, as opposed to a contingent, hypothetical or abstract dispute, upon which this Court can render a declaratory judgment.  Accordingly, the petition for original jurisdiction is denied at this time.
bold italicising is mine.
If my reading is correct then when it comes to taking money - which is what the 'appropriation of public funds' means -- that, according to established case law in South Carolina, is a legislative function. What the Supreme Court is saying is - ambiguity in the statutory language aside (in reference to the Recovery Act) in regards to the actions and powers of the South Carolina Legislature - it is their right and obligation to appropriate funds, such a right has never resided with the executive - his is only to approve  and (or if overridden) to enforce such measures.


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