SC high court: Haley can't order lawmakers back

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Supreme Court says Gov. Nikki Haley lacks the authority to order legislators back to work while they're on break this week.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Haley's order violates the separation of powers. The order agreed with Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell and halted the session she ordered to start Tuesday.

"It is unfortunate that today three of the five members of the Supreme Court disagreed with every other court in the nation and the attorney general.  But we must move on, and Senator McConnell now insists that he 'support's the effort to add those items to the Senate's agenda when they return on June 14,'" said Haley. "We expect him to be true to his word, and that as Senate President Pro Tempore he will ensure the Senate take up – and pass – these critical government reforms first thing next Tuesday."

"Now I see where she comes back and she says it is my responsibility to get the votes," said McConnell in response to Haley's statement. "No, it is not. It is her responsibility. If she will use as much energy in getting votes as she did as trampling on the constitution will be successful."

The state's high court agreed that Haley can't call legislators back for an extra session when they're technically still in session. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law last week to come back for a wrap-up session starting June 14.

But the limited list of items lawmakers can take up doesn't include the four bills Haley wants passed. The court's 3-2 decision says Haley's order violates the Legislature's ability to set its calendar and agenda.

Earlier on Monday, Gov. Nikki Haley responded to Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell's lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss. McConnell said that Haley was over-stepping her power by ordering the senate back to Columbia.

"The governor is saying, 'I don't care what the assembly voted. I don't care what ya'll did under sine die.  I'm issuing an executive order and saying it will be something different," said McConnell.

The Senate took a recess June 4 at 5 p.m. and is scheduled to return June 14.

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