Court rejects governor’s appeal on masks

Published 9:37 pm Sunday, October 10, 2021

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Court of Appeals says governor, attorney general did not comply with rules

LANDRUM—South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and State Attorney General Alan Wilson’s challenge to a federal ruling that gave school districts the ability to require masks was rejected this week. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said McMaster and Wilson failed to comply with the rules of the appeals process. The process is to first seek a stay on the ruling in a district court before coming to the court of appeals. 

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McMaster and Wilson went to the circuit court of appeals saying that going to the district court was not feasible because of the language of the district court’s order and the fact that children are currently in school. 

Rule 8 of the federal appellate procedure says that defendants can bypass the district court and seek a stay of relief in a circuit court if they can show specific reasons that a fair ruling is out of question in the lower court. 

The governor is appealing a decision made by Judge Mary Geiger Lewis on Sept. 28 that proviso 1.108 in the state budget restricted students with disabilities from accessing educational opportunities that are provided to other students and concluded that it should be up to school districts to decide whether or not they want to mandate masks on school property. 

McMaster and Wilson have said they would appeal the ruling and would go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight the federal ruling if necessary. 

District One Schools, including Landrum and Campobello, currently are not mandating masks at school and are leaving them optional.