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State Court To Settle S.C. Stimulus Fight

(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
Like a handful of other Republican governors, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford defiantly protested the stimulus funds President Obama has been doling out to the states. He is, however, the only governor to take his opposition to the federal bailout money to court.

On Monday, the governor saw a major setback in his fight to refuse $700 million in federal funds, the New York Times reported.

A federal judge on Monday said two lawsuits seeking to compel Sanford to accept the money should be heard in state court. The state Supreme Court will hear the arguments in the cases, filed by two students and the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, on Wednesday.

South Carolina is eligible to receive up to $2.8 billion in stimulus funds, and the state has already accepted some of the money, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sanford has said he would only accept the $700 million in question if it could be used to offset the state's debt; the money, though, is slated to mostly pay for education.

Sanford filed a third suit in federal court against state Attorney General Henry McMaster, arguing that the state legislature did not have the right to require the governor to accept the money by overriding his budget veto. The judge on Monday did not rule on that case, but Sanford said he will drop it if he loses the state Supreme Court fight, according to reports.

The governor was pessimistic about his chances in court on Wednesday.

"Here we have a Supreme Court picked by the General Assembly," the governor said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "It looks like we will be bound to spend that money."

Sanford, who is not running for re-election, may be preparing for a presidential bid, some speculate. The governor has argued against the stimulus package on national television and through various other media outlets.

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