Recently, Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Tiffany Grove ruled Governor Tate Reeves’ partial vetoes over two budget bills to be unconstitutional, and in response, Reeves has appealed Grove’s verdict to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
On Wednesday morning, the first-term governor, in the latest episode of the ongoing saga between Reeves and the state legislature, opened up on his decision to appeal the judge’s ruling.
“That was not a surprise at all,” Reeves said. “This was a local judge in Hinds County, and we never anticipated this particular judge would make any other decision. This is a decision the Mississippi Supreme Court is going to make.”
Through her findings, Judge Grove has required the state to pay $2 million to North Oaks Regional Medical Center and $6 million to MAGnet Community Health Disparity Program, however, according to Reeves, nothing about his decision to appeal those specific appropriations, which were part of House Bill 1782, can be deemed unconstitutional.
“The Constitution, in my opinion, is very clear,” he explained. “It gives the governor the ability to line-item veto, and it’s for a particular reason that our framers put that in the Constitution. That is to make sure there is a check and a balance.”
In a sequence of events that has been “anticipated” by the governor since Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White’s filing of the lawsuit back in August, Reeves expects the appeal to be handled by the Supreme Court within the next six weeks.
“The Chief Justice, I presume, or whoever wrote the order, wrote an order in the last week, laying out an expedited time frame, so some time over the next six weeks, I think they’ll have oral arguments and all those things.”
For the time being, the disputed $8 million in CARES Act funding has been put on hold until the Mississippi Supreme Court comes to a decision, and Reeves is optimistic that the state’s highest court will rule in favor of the executive branch.
“It’s a case that needs to be settled, and I’m confident in our position.”