The Jeenyus Corner




South Carolina’s governmental structure is unusual in many, many ways – and not “unusual” in the good sense. Nowhere is this clearer than in the matter of nominating and choosing judges. In South Carolina, judges are unilaterally chosen by the legislature. The governor has nothing to do with it, with the result that the legislative branch has no check on its power over the judicial branch.

And it’s not just the legislative branch that has the control. More particularly, it’s three lawmakers: the Speaker of the House, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. These three appoint all ten members of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, the body that nominates judges for ultimate legislative approval. By law, six of the 10 must be lawmakers: the House Speaker appoints five, the President Pro Tempore…

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