Henry McMaster, the Governor of South Carolina, is facing legal challenges with his decision to end unemployment benefits early. A couple of months back, the judge from the state circuit went on to dismiss a lawsuit that challenged this decision of the Governor.
The judge noted that the state officials and the Governor had the sole authority to decide whether their state would continue to get enrolled in optional benefits from the federal government. The attorneys that represented the case of the four unemployed South Carolinians who had filed the lawsuit, had then appealed this decision of the judge. This led the State Supreme Court to take up the case on an emergency basis on Monday.
Unemployment Benefits Lawsuit
Adam Protheroe, one of the attorneys for the unemployment benefits lawsuit, stated they weren’t asking the court to judge if the actions of the defendant, in this case, were rooted in wisdom or not- rather they were asking if the entire scenario was lawful or not.
Protheroe also argued that the law of state labor required that DEW push out the benefits which are tied to the Social Security Act. Grayson Lambert, the Senior Legal Counsel for Governor Henry McMaster, stated that this law didn’t definitely apply to the benefits for they had been established through the CARES Act in 2020.
Lambert also told the justices that the government of South Carolina has been left with the idea that these unemployment benefits which were enacted under the CARES Act also come under the eligibility set by the CARES Act- while the money has also been appropriated by the CARES Act.
As stated by Lambert, the federal government has gone ahead and provided guidance which states that the Governor has the authority to decide whether the state would enroll in pandemic unemployment benefits.