SC Supreme Court Shuffle?

THREE VACANCIES IN TWO YEARS? IT COULD HAPPEN …  By FITSNews  ||   The next two years could see three new state Supreme Court justices in South Carolina – depending on how a high stakes game of judicial roulette plays out. That’s some serious turnover in our state’s uber-corrupt judicial…


By FITSNews  ||   The next two years could see three new state Supreme Court justices in South Carolina – depending on how a high stakes game of judicial roulette plays out.

That’s some serious turnover in our state’s uber-corrupt judicial branch of government …

We already know the court’s chief justice, Jean Toal, will step down next year when she hits the state’s mandatory retirement age of 72 (assuming she makes it that long).  We also know Costa Pleicones – who ran unsuccessfully against Toal earlier this year – is likely to become chief justice when Toal resigns (assuming he makes it that long).

Pleicones hits the retirement age the following year – 2016 – which would result in another vacancy on the court (and another race for its top spot).  So that’s two vacancies over the next two years … where’s the third?

According to our sources, it could wind up being the seat currently held by Donald Beatty – a black Democrat elected by a “Republican” controlled General Assembly back in 2007.

How would that work?

Let’s play musical judicial chairs …

Last June, U.S. president Barack Obama nominated fifth circuit judge Allison Lee to the federal bench – a move championed by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.  Not long after her nomination, though, Lee was the focus of some very unflattering headlines regarding leniency administered to violent offenders.

Already opposed by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott – Lee’s “soft on crime” problem prompted additional calls for her to stand aside as Obama’s federal designate.  So far, Lee has resisted those calls … although multiple sources tell us her support within the White House has eroded considerably over the past fifteen months.  We’re also told that if Lee were to stand aside, Beatty would be quickly confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Interesting … so, will the “nominee switch” go down?

It’s possible.  Beatty’s situation is interesting in that his supporters – and opponents – are lobbying equally hard for him to become a federal judge.

FITS readers may recall Beatty getting into a high-profile fight recently with the state’s solicitors, who are eager to see him removed from the state’s high court.  Not surprisingly, they are using their influence in an effort to get Lee to step down so that Beatty could take her place as Obama’s federal nominee.

Meanwhile Beatty supporters are also pushing hard to see him get a spot on the federal bench.

“Never seen a situation quite like it,” one court watcher told FITS. “His friends and his enemies are on the same team here.”

Stay tuned … if Lee is compelled to withdraw her name from consideration and Obama nominates Beatty to take her spot, we could see three new justices (a new majority) on the state supreme court within the next two years.

Does that mean any of them will be pro-free market, pro-liberty justices (i.e. the kind “Republican-controlled” legislatures are supposed to elect)?  Of course not … but the upside of new blood is it’s hard to imagine someone more corrupt than Toal running the state’s judicial branch.

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shifty henry September 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm

This is the kind of hinky goings-on that I like to watch…..

CorruptionInColumbia September 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm

it is like a train wreck…

Mike at the Beach September 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm

…only more expensive.

Historian September 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm

The future appointees are likely to be either past or present members of the General Assembly.

CorruptionInColumbia September 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Announcing the new Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court, …
Bobby Harrell.

The Colonel September 29, 2014 at 7:23 pm

He’ll obviously have a lot of experience in the judicial system by then….

FastEddy23 September 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm

“Mr Camdidate, what part of the Constitution would you change?” … Usually dislodges the bad apples.

Thomas September 29, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Beatty is 62. Can’t we find someone younger? Scary stuff considering Leatherman and the new Speaker can stack the Judicial Merit Selection Commission in their own image!

TSIB September 29, 2014 at 8:18 pm

“Does that mean any of them will be pro-free market, pro-liberty justices”

So you want activist judges, rather than judges who will apply the law.

anonymous September 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Beatty is dumb as a rock and is easily influenced by others – for political reasons. Toal absolutely controls his arrogant ass now and there is none in SC more corrupt than Toal. She is addicted to power and control. Kittredge is out to lunch most of the time and will retire due to his “bad back” soon. Hearn is a politician first and judge second.

rubberbiscuit September 30, 2014 at 2:23 am

Might want to investigate some of the rumors before printing. I believe according to a White House press release that her name was withdrawn on the 18th of this month.

Civil Defense Attorney September 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Put Lee on the Supreme Court and let Beatty go to the federal bench. At least the federal appellate courts still have intelligent members, even if they do lean ideologically one way or the other. At least then his legal decisions can be vetted by someone with the brains to do so. Lee is a good judge. She’s considerate, intelligent, and reasonable. The Supreme Court would be lucky to have her.

Doris September 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I agree. Allison Lee is a professional, smart, fair and honest judge. That is why Jean Toal wants rid of her so bad and has blocked Lee’s attempts to get on the SC Supreme Court (or Court of Appeals). Beatty can’t do any real harm in a Federal appellate position and we would be rid of him. Once Toal is gone, Beatty is not going to have anyone left on the SC SC to protect him anyway.

Otis September 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

There is no mandatory retirement age. You must only retire at 72 in order to receive the retirement system benefits that are provided for judges, solicitors and public defenders. If those benefits are not important to that person then they can stay on until death or not re-elected.

SECTION 9-8-60. Retirement; retirement allowance; disability retirement; beneficiaries of other systems.

(1) A member of the system may retire upon written application to the
board setting forth at what time, not later than the end of the calendar
year in which the member attains age seventy-two and not more than
ninety days prior nor more than six months subsequent to the execution
and filing thereof, the member desires to be retired, if the member at
the time so specified for retirement is no longer in the service of the
State, except as a member of the General Assembly or as allowed pursuant
to subsection (7), and has completed ten years of earned service as a
judge or eight years of earned service as a solicitor or circuit public
defender or was in service as a judge or solicitor on July 1, 1984, and
has either:

Learned Posner Cardozo September 30, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Beatty is a hardcore advocate for for the things he believes in, about as unobjective as a highschool mom at her daughter’s first beauy pageant, unsophisticated, below sophomoric, about as unintellectually curious as a sea urchin, as hapless foolish and apathetic as a slothful brain dead mannequin, he knows nothing about about the law or the judiciary and he’s hostile and adamant about his stupidity. In other words he’d make a great federal judge, and as good of one as he’s been a justice.


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