SC Attorney General files lawsuit against Columbia for school mask mandate

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a lawsuit Thursday with the South Carolina Supreme Court over the City of Columbia’s school mask mandate.

The lawsuit claims the mandate violates state law. It also mentions and would apply to all cities, towns, counties, and school boards that have passed or are seeking to pass mask mandates.

The lawsuit does not question whether masks are effective or a good idea but is based on the importance of following state law, the Attorney General’s office said.

Wilson said he encourages everyone to wear masks when appropriate and encourages anyone who can to get the COVID vaccination. However, the General Assembly passed a budget proviso that prohibits schools or school districts from requiring masks.

The lawsuit points to the Court’s recent ruling in the Creswick v. University of South Carolina and Wilson case, which says, “that appropriation provisos must be construed ‘as . . . written.’ Like this Court’s holding, our bringing this action ‘is not an approval or disapproval of a mandate, nor is it an approval or disapproval of an attempt by the General Assembly to prohibit a mandate.’  The rule of law must prevail.”

“This Court has observed that ‘without a legislature and the exercise of the power to appropriate funds . . . anarchy and chaos would pervade society.” the lawsuit said. “There would not be a republican form of government.’”

“We are in compliance with South Carolina Constitutional law, which makes it our legal and ethical obligation to protect the health, safety and well-being of our citizens,” Columbia Mayor Steven Benjamin said in a statement.

You can read the lawsuit here.

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