[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/11/art.sanfordpt0311.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had resisted taking the federal stimulus money."](CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's prolonged campaign to reject $700 million in federal stimulus funds - an effort that earned him praise from some national conservatives but also angered many in his own state - appears to have come to an end.
The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that the governor must accept the federal cash designated for education funding.
Sanford, who might run for president in 2012, had resisted taking the money even when the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a budget that included the funds.
The court on Thursday stated that "under South Carolina law, the General Assembly has the sole authority to direct the appropriation of funds and, therefore, is the entity which decides whether the State desires to receive the funds."
Students and education officials in the state filed lawsuits last month demanding that the governor take the money, and Sanford tried to have the lawsuits merged and heard in federal court. On Monday, however, a federal judge rejected that attempt, and said that the South Carolina Supreme Court must decide what to do.
Sanford has scheduled a press conference on the decision this afternoon. He said earlier this week that he will not appeal the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision.