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As S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford descends deeper into delusional damage control mode, it turns out the State Constitution could be the embattled chief executive’s best friend.

Sanford’s rumored plan to take a 60-day leave of absence – first reported here on FITS – is indeed an option that is available to him under the S.C. Constitution, even as calls mount from all corners for him to resign in the wake of his extramarital affair and accompanying deceptions.

Here is the relevant code section, from Article IV of the S.C. Constitution

SECTION 12. Disability of Governor.

(1) Whenever the Governor transmits to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Lieutenant Governor as acting Governor.

(2) Whenever a majority of the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Comptroller General and the State Treasurer, or of such other body as the General Assembly may provide, transmits to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that the Governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall forthwith assume the powers and duties of the office as acting Governor.

Thereafter, if the Governor transmits to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no such inability exists he shall forthwith resume the powers and duties of his office unless a majority of the above members or of such other body, whichever the case may be, transmits within four days to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the Governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon, the General Assembly shall forthwith consider and decide the issue, and if not in session it shall assemble within forty-eight hours for the sole purpose of deciding such issue. If the General Assembly, within twenty-one days, excluding Sundays, after the first day it meets to decide the issue, determines by two-thirds vote of each House that the Governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall continue to discharge the same as acting Governor; otherwise, the Governor shall resume the powers and duties of his office. (1972 (57) 3171; 1973 (58) 48.)

So let’s see if we’ve got this straight …

The governor will self-diagnose that he is “disabled,” and then self-diagnose when such a disability has ended?

Oh, and that dude with the magnifying glass? Not on our payroll …