Federal Judge: 2 lawsuits over stimulus money back to SC Supreme Court
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's push against accepting federal stimulus money lost steam today, following a fedreal judge's ruling. It's about who has the authority to ask for the funds. WFAE's Simone Orendain reports. Governor Mark Sanford has refused to ask for $700 million in stimulus funds unless he can use it to pay state debt. Lawmakers compelled him to request the money in their budget proposal. Two groups supporting the legislature sued Sanford in state Supreme Court. In response, Sanford sued the state in federal court and asked the other two to be heard there as well. But US District Judge Joe Anderson denied the request. Attorney and former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Richard Harpootlian represents two students who filed a lawsuit. After Anderson's ruling, he feels good about his clients' chances. "And I'm sure we'll hear from the Supreme Court. They'll schedule arguments in this matter relatively quickly. And we can get this resolved so the people in the State of South Carolina can get 100's of millions of dollars that will assist," says Harpootlian. Following Anderson's decision, Sanford told reporters he wasn't optimistic about his chances and that he would not pursue court appeals on the issue. Sanford says if he loses the Supreme Court cases he'll drop his federal lawsuit against the stimulus money. States that haven't yet applied for stimulus money must submit requests by the July first deadline.