The petition in the name of an 18-year-old Chapin High School student was filed by Columbia lawyers Dwight Drake and Dick Harpootlian.
Sanford has said he won't request $350 million in federal stimulus cash unless it is used to reduce state debt.
The Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm said its action asks the high court to decide the issues without a lower court hearing arguments first. It's an attempt to get the court to declare that the state Legislature has the responsibility for deciding how the money is spent.
"We feel this is an important issue for the school children of South Carolina and it needs to be decided quickly," Drake said.
He refused to discuss other details of the lawsuit until a news conference Thursday afternoon.