Down-Ballot SC Judicial Race Drawing Heat

LAWMAKERS MULL CANDIDATES FOR CIRCUIT COURT … We’ve devoted much of our bandwidth of late to the ongoing legislative election for the S.C. Supreme Court … a race we’ll be updating our readers on later today. As for down-ballot judicial races?   We haven’t really been following them all that closely ……


We’ve devoted much of our bandwidth of late to the ongoing legislative election for the S.C. Supreme Court … a race we’ll be updating our readers on later today.

As for down-ballot judicial races?   We haven’t really been following them all that closely …

If history is any indication, though, maybe we should pay more attention.   After all, as we exclusively reported two years ago these races often involve shady deals which impact the outcome of the top-of-the-ticket contests.

Wait … you thought lawmakers elected judges on their merits?


This is South Carolina, people.  Where everything is “who knows who.”  And cui bono.

Anyway, one of the races drawing significant attention involves S.C. circuit court candidate Jocelyn Newman – daughter of current circuit court judge Clifton B. Newman and brother of former Columbia, S.C. city councilman Brian DeQuincey Newman.

If those latter two names sound familiar, they should …

Clifton Newman is the judge who recently awarded bail to Michael Slager – the white North Charleston, S.C. cop who fatally shot 50-year-old black man Walter Scott multiple times in the back following a traffic stop.

Sources tell us Newman – who is black – has had some trouble solidifying her support among Democrats in the S.C. General Assembly due to her father’s controversial decision.  Of course there’s a flip side.  We’re told she’s made up some of that ground among white “Republicans” – several of whom have reportedly told her they will support her candidacy as a way of getting out of having to back liberal S.C. Supreme Court justice Donald Beatty next year.

Ah, the politics of race …

“Some of the Republican House members are now worried about being called bigots,” one source told us.  “Especially in an election year.”


If anything, we would argue “Republican” lawmakers should be taking a hard line on electing the most conservative judges right about now … not letting political correctness guide their decision-making.

That’s what GOP primary voters will be focused on …

Compounding Jocelyn Newman’s problems?  The recent legal trouble her brother is experiencing as a result of his association with the “penny tax” – a $1.2 billion tax hike approved via a rigged election in Richland County in 2012.  Brian DeQuincey Newman was one of two black leaders busted on tax charges earlier this month in connection with a S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) investigation into the proceeds of this rigged election.

More trouble could be coming down the pipe for those associated with this scam …

In addition to that blowback, Jocelyn Newman is also not benefitting at all from the involvement of scandal-scarred Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin in her race.

Legislative sources tell us Benjamin – who had an abysmal election cycle at the municipal level last fall – has been in “full lobby mode” for Newman, “calling and cajoling and occasionally cussing out legislators.”

“As with the citywide elections in November, he’s doing  more harm than good,” one lobbyist familiar with the vote count told us.

So … why is he involved?  City politicos were buzzing about “Mayorhood’s” advocacy in this particular legislative election – wondering whether it was part of an effort to shield Benjamin from further scrutiny of his, um, affairs.

“Is there a quid pro quo for Brian Newman’s silence about Benjamin’s shady dealings?” one mused.

Wouldn’t surprise us …

As we’ve said all along … state lawmakers should not be allowed to elect judges.  The process is notoriously corrupt, and should be replaced by either executive appointment or popular election (frankly we prefer the appointment model, with future governors submitting nominations to the S.C. Senate for its advice and consent).

Will that ever happen?  Hell no …

Lawmakers love horse-trading too much.


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Old RC lawyer February 2, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Jean Toal is in the thick of this disaster – calling legislators who think she still may have power and making all sorts of ludicrous deals. Justice Beatty has agreed to keep some of her skeletons hidden and therefore, she is doing all she can to keep him in line for the throne. She has always controlled him anyway. Her greatest fear is that Bruce Williams will be elected. Some of her loyal subjects are frantically trying to convince Chief Justice Pleicones that they were only teasing when they played along with all of Toal’s corruption – in their efforts to survive his reign until the equally corrupt Beatty can get into office and their jobs will be secure again. It is an absolute mess in the South Carolina Judiciary at this present time.

Buddy Miles February 2, 2016 at 12:24 pm

It was the Honorable Donald Beatty that called out Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, among others, for their “unethical practices”. “…some things”, was a reply to the charge. So, how does a Solicitor take the death penalty off the table (Slager) when there was no confession and no conviction? She preferred to proceed with the Dylan Roof case ahead of Slager for its political profit. Watch attorney Andy Savage squash her like the miserable bug she is. “Politics should not interfere with law enforcement”, said J. Edgar Hoover.

Hang Them High February 2, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Corruption and criminal activity within the General Assembly is alive and well. Meanwhile, Alan Wilson laughs at powerless voters.

utah February 3, 2016 at 9:56 am

Ms Newman also has “limited experience,” per the JMSC report, and it certainly pales in comparison to that of her opponent for this election.


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