Fight over SAFE Grants heads to the South Carolina Supreme Court

September 18, 2020

To schedule an interview, contact [email protected] or 773-809-4403.

Palmetto Promise Institute and their attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center encourage prompt action from the High Court

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug 5, 2020) — Last night, opponents of a grant program that would support thousands of students from low- and moderate-income families filed a new lawsuit asking the South Carolina Supreme Court to block the program. Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants program was launched in July by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to give children the ability to remain in a school of their choice or pursue new alternatives for quality education in a safe setting.

The federally-funded program was quickly challenged in state court by opponents who sued Gov. McMaster and Palmetto Promise Institute, the nonprofit organization tasked with facilitating the application process. A state trial court in Orangeburg, South Carolina, temporarily blocked the program while the legal challenge continued.

Today’s action escalates the legal battle from the state trial court to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Palmetto Promise Institute and their legal team, including attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, continue to fight to protect SAFE Grants and plan to consent to bringing the case before the High Court.

“We support the South Carolina Supreme Court taking up this case because a prompt resolution is essential for South Carolina children,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Bringing the issue before the state’s Supreme Court is an important step to ensuring this case is decided quickly so students and parents can apply for SAFE Grants to pursue their educational choice this school year.”

The court challenges have left urgent financial relief for moderate to low-income students seeking to attend or stay in a South Carolina independent school in limbo. However, Palmetto Promise Institute remains committed to helping these families and defending SAFE Grants.

“We are committed to protecting the relief that Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants would provide for struggling moderate and low-income students and their families,” said Ellen Weaver, President and CEO of Palmetto Promise Institute. “We maintain that based on an overwhelming mountain of state and federal legal precedent, Governor McMaster has the ability to implement this lawful program that would give these students the opportunity to attend schools that fit their specific needs. We will use all legal means to continue this fight for those students who deserve the education hope that SAFE Grants will provide.”

Case filings are available here: Adams v. South Carolina

Case documents in Adams v. South Carolina are available here:


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact us.