Miss. Supreme Court hands Reeves victory in lawsuit against Philip Gunn

FILE — In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset.
FILE — In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 2:37 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s Supreme Court has overturned a county judge’s ruling against Governor Tate Reeves about who has ultimate control over the state budget.

Thursday’s court documents announced, “We reverse the chancery court’s judgment and render judgment for the Governor, declaring that the veto of parts of House Bill 1782 was lawful under section 73 of our Constitution. No motion for rehearing will be allowed in this case.”

This saga began in August 2020 when Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Rep. Jason White filed a joint lawsuit against Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves.

The suit was over Reeves’ vetoes of the bill related to the distribution of money from the CARES Act fund (House Bill 1782).

Reeves vetoed portions of that bill by marking over the pieces he disapproved with a red X while approving the rest of the bills.

Reeves said the CARES Act included $2 million for a hospital that has been closed for years.

The lawsuit claimed that under State ex rel. Teachers & Officers vs Holder (1898), Reeves acted outside of his authority on the partial veto.

The lawsuit also cited Barbour v. Delta Correctional Facility Authority (2004), which ruling states “the executive branch of government through a governor’s use of a partial veto may not thwart or sabotage the legislative intent.”

“The purported partial vetoes by Governor Reeves of the State’s education budget and public health emergency appropriations, well-meaning though they no doubt were, are not allowed by our state’s constitution, and this Court should enter judgment to that effect,” the lawsuit stated.

Gov. Reeves claims his action was authorized by provision 73 of the Mississippi Constitution.

In October, Hinds County Chancery Court ruled in favor of Speaker Gunn saying Reeves’ partial veto was unconstitutional, but the High Court has overturned that ruling and had the final say.

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