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12-9-2020 - Opinions
The Court dismisses this appeal from the Public Service Commission because two of the appellants lack standing to appeal and, as to the remaining appellant, the appeal is moot.
We granted the petition for original jurisdiction in this declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutionality of Governor Henry McMaster's allocation of $32 million in federal emergency education funding for the creation of the Safe Access to Flexible Education ("SAFE") Grants Program. Petitioners contend the program, which provides one-time tuition grants for students to attend private and independent primary and secondary schools for the 2020-2021 academic year, violates our constitutional mandate prohibiting public funding of private schools. We hold the Governor's decision constitutes the use of public funds for the direct benefit of private educational institutions within the meaning of, and prohibited by, Article XI, Section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution.
The Court affirms the court of appeals' decision as modified, finding the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Chicago Title Insurance Company was inappropriate, but the court of appeals' discussion of contractual incompetency was misplaced.
We answer two certified questions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.12-16-2020 - Opinions
Jose Reyes Reyes was convicted by a jury of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction. State v. Reyes, Op. No. 2019-UP-214 (S.C. Ct. App. filed June 12, 2019). We granted Reyes's petition for a writ of certiorari. We affirm the court of appeals and hold: (1) the trial court did not improperly rule in the jury's presence the child victim was competent to testify, and (2) although the trial court erred in allowing the solicitor to ask the child victim improperly-phrased questions, this error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.