LET THE VOTE TRADING BEGIN!
A judicial screening panel plagued by controversy in recent weeks has approved three candidates to stand for legislative election to the S.C. Supreme Court.
The S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission – which recently underwent a political makeover at the behest of all-powerful S.C. Senate leader Hugh Leatherman – has given state lawmakers three judges to choose from in the race to fill the associate justice position vacated by Costa Pleicones, who will take over as chief justice for one year beginning on January 1, 2016.
The three candidates are Ralph King “Tripp” Anderson, chief judge of the state’s administrative law court, John Few, chief judge of the S.C. court of appeals and Bruce Williams, an appeals court judge.
Sources tell us Few is the early frontrunner for the post, although Leatherman will reportedly push hard to get Anderson elected. Also Few was badly dinged up by the rumor mill during a failed bid for the Supreme Court back in 2009 – when Leatherman was successful in getting Kaye Hearn appointed to the bench.
Will the same rumors sink Few a second time?
We’ll have to see …
As for Williams, he barely qualified for the race – going to the fifth ballot with fellow court of appeals judge Aphrodite Konduras. Of course he could conceivably emerge as a compromise candidate in the event another thermonuclear war breaks out between the top two picks.
The only guarantee in this process? That nothing will be above boards … even though leaders in the S.C. House of Representatives claim they are making judicial reform a priority this coming year.
Yeah. We’ll believe that when we see it …
We believe the state’s judges should be appointed by future governors, with the S.C. Senate providing advice and consent …
Until that happens, expect to see legislative favor trading continue to dominate this process.