STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE COULD MOVE TO FEDERAL BENCH …
By FITSNEWS || U.S. President Barack Obama quietly withdrew the nomination of controversial S.C. circuit court judge Alison Lee for a spot on the federal bench in late September – a decision that got precisely zero attention in the Palmetto State.
Last year, The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper presented Lee’s appointment as a fait accompli given her status as the “niece of the late trailblazing S.C. civil rights lawyer and federal judge Matthew Perry.”
“Despite the lack of open support from the two crucial senators, it’s likely – unless something unforeseen surfaces – that Lee, 54, will become a $174,000-a-year federal judge by December,” the paper’s news columnist John Monk reported at the time, quoting a constitutional law scholar.
“The White House doesn’t nominate anybody without home state support, so I’m just assuming the two senators are OK with this,” the scholar told Monk.
Turns out neither Senator was “OK” with Lee … which isn’t surprising given her ongoing issues as it relates to judicial leniency. And no, we’re not referring to the sort of “judicial leniency” that common sense people support (i.e. freeing non-violent drug offenders in lieu of decriminalizing marijuana), we’re talking about the sort of leniency that permits violent criminals to go free on bond (violent criminals who then celebrate their freedom by murdering people).
Anyway … with Lee’s nomination officially kaput (before the first hearing was held), Obama must now find another option to replace retiring federal judge Cameron McGowan Currie.
Who will he choose?
As noted in this post, speculation thus far has centered around S.C. Supreme Court justice Donald Beatty.
“Beatty’s situation is interesting in that his supporters – and opponents – are lobbying equally hard for him to become a federal judge,” we wrote. “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.”
They are … but Beatty’s supporters are pushing equally hard to see him appointed to the federal bench.
Will that happen?
We shall see …
Given the looming retirements of S.C. chief justice Jean Toal and senior associate justice Costa Pleicones, Beatty is in line to be chief justice of the Palmetto State’s Supreme Court within the next few years.
Would he trade that for a federal judgeship? And the lifetime appointment that goes with it?
Again, we shall see …
Sources tell FITS Beatty is inclined to take the federal appointment if it is offered to him – believing Palmetto State “Republicans” have the votes to pass him over for the chief justice’s spot.