Weak governorship vs strong legislature: South Carolina power move by Haley headed to court
There's been a lot of talk about Gov. Nikki Haley's move to order the state Legislature back into session on Tuesday to finish up some nearly complete work.
(FYI, that work consists of bills passed by the House but not just yet by the Senate: creating a Department of Administration, making the secretary of education a governor-appointed position, letting the governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket, and consolidating the Department of Corrections.)
But what hasn't been said as much is about how this all stands to reshape power roles in South Carolina government.
If you didn't know it, the governorship in South Carolina is one of the weakest in the nation with Legislature having, over decades, shaped a situation where the executive branch has little room to, well, execute.
So you can appreciate why Haley is none too pleased that four pieces of legislation that would give her more power would have to wait — and you can appreciate why the Senate is ticked: not only is she telling them that they screwed up by not giving her more power, she's telling them that they have to come back to work to do her bidding, and that she can do so whenever she pleases.
Ouch. That's the makings of some Sanford vs. Legislature bad blood.
But what will be key here (assuming this goes to court, and it looks like it will) is that the legal opinion on which Haley's ability back into session is meant only for "extraordinary" circumstances.
So the question is: Will the S.C. Supreme Court say that courts cannot measure what is "extraordinary" in the executive branch and Haley may proceed, or will they say that it's a trampling of the separation of powers?
Either way, it's no Republican paradise.
We'll be sure to let you know how this pans out.
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