COMMISSION AFFIRMS REMOVAL OF TOP ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE …
Members of the legislatively controlled S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) have affirmed their decision to remove the state’s chief administrative law judge from the ballot for an upcoming legislative election to the S.C. Supreme Court.
Not only that, they’ve replaced him with a former state lawmaker.
As we exclusively reported last week, judge Ralph King “Tripp” Anderson was booted from the ballot for next year’s judicial election – although he furiously lobbied members of the commission in an effort to be reinstated (arguing that he was the victim of a set-up).
Commissioners didn’t buy it – and voted to “screen out” S.C. circuit court judge Keith Kelly in his place.
Kelly – a former two-term member of the S.C. House – will now stand for election alongside circuit court judges Diane Goodstein of Summerville, S.C. and George C. “Buck” James of Sumter, S.C.
The three candidates will run next year to fill a vacancy created by the looming retirement of chief justice Costa Pleicones.
A few days after Anderson’s name was initially approved as a candidate for this seat, our website broke this exclusive report about him allegedly using a lobbyist (one hired with government funds) to advance his Supreme Court candidacy. Anderson was also under fire for showing up uninvited to a recent S.C. Senate Democratic caucus event – basically campaigning for his seat at a time when such lobbying efforts are expressly prohibited.
Despite the shake-up in the slate of candidates, we still don’t have a dog in the fight – although we do credit the panel in this case for recognizing a flawed candidate and removing him from the ballot.
Still, the process remains exceedingly shady and susceptible to all sorts of corruption.
As we’ve stated repeatedly, lawmakers have proven time and again that they simply cannot be trusted to discharge this responsibility honorably. From the selection of candidates to the actual legislative voting – the entire process is rigged and must be replaced.
South Carolina is one of the only states in the nation in which lawmakers picks judges – an infinitely corrupt process that leads to all sorts of political inbreeding.
We believe in the future that governors in the Palmetto State should appoint judges with the advise and consent of the S.C. General Assembly – although we’d be open to popular election for judgeships as well.
Either way, the current system must be abolished.
(Banner via Sic)