Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that will decide the judiciary's role in determining if legislators violate the state ethics law.
The state's highest court has the case after GOP activist John Rainey said Governor Haley violated the ethics law while a member of the house.
The court did not asses during the arguments Wednesday if Rainey's allegations were in fact true, rather if a court itself could hear the case and make a ruling.
"All the supreme court is deciding is whether or not the judiciary, a court, can have a declaratory judgement action filed and heard to determine if the conduct of a legislator violates and ethics act," said Attorney Dick Harpootlian who is representing Rainey.
Rainey claims Haley violated ethics rules by failing to disclose conflicts of interest and lobbying while a member of the South Carolina House.
The case has already gone before a circuit judge who said the case should go before the House Ethics Committee.
The House Ethics Committee cleared the governor in June, 2012.
"John Rainey is unserious and unstable, and he should go back to his plantation and stop wasting the time of the taxpayers," said Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey. "Mr. Rainey's political witch hunt has been rejected by every court and every investigative body."
A ruling from the 5 justices will take weeks, if not months, to be returned.
If returned in Rainey's favor, Harpootlian says his client plans to take his allegations to the court where discovery and depositions can take place.
"That's what this is about, future guidance," said Harpootlian. "It's not so much about if she did wrong or not, the question is 'can't we define the conduct so that legislators in the future know what's right and wrong.'"