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SC Supreme Court Race: Decided




S.C. circuit court judge George C. “Buck” James is a virtual lock to win a legislative election for an open seat on the S.C. Supreme Court next week.

James – who hails from Sumter, S.C. – reportedly has a commanding lead over fellow circuit court judge Diane Goodstein, who hails from the Palmetto State’s Lowcountry.

That surprises us a bit seeing as Goodstein had support from influential Democrats as well as some conservative Republicans – who appreciated her ruling in a recent religious liberty case.

That case has loomed large in the upcoming election, too … but apparently not large enough.

According to our sources, James is likely to wind up with at least 100 votes by the time a joint session of the S.C. General Assembly – i.e. both the House and Senate – is convened this Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. EST.

A third Supreme Court candidate – former S.C. Rep. Keith Kelly – has withdrawn from the race after failing to pick up much in the way of support.   Kelly failed to make the initial cut for this election, incidentally –  although he was inserted into the mix after the fact when S.C. chief administrative law judge Ralph King “Tripp” Anderson of Florence, S.C. was booted from the ballot.

News of Anderson’s troubles broke exclusively on FITSNews – which has also exclusively reported on developments detrimental to Goodstein (even though we’d probably vote for her if we had a ballot in this race).

We don’t, though … which leads us to another issue.

Legislative elections for justice and judges – as we’ve extensively chronicled over the years – are exceedingly corrupt affairs.  From the selection of judicial candidates by a legislatively-controlled committee to the actual voting by lawmakers themselves, the entire process is rigged and needs to be replaced.

We favor allowing governors to appoint these positions (even Foghorn Governors), with lawmakers providing an advice and consent role.  If that isn’t amenable, we have no problem with judges and justices being elected by popular vote.

Anything would be preferable to the current system, which not only fosters corruption but dilutes judicial independence – a key component of the separation of powers doctrine.

Anyway …

It’s worth noting James was not among the early frontrunners for this post – which will fill the seat on the court being vacated by retiring chief justice Costa Pleicones.  He quickly emerged as a consensus candidate, though, and his allies clearly did a good job rallying legislative support around his candidacy.

How will he rule?  Guess we’re about to find out …

UPDATE: Sooner rather than later, it would appear.  Goodstein has dropped out of the race.

(Banner via FITSNews)