State House

South Carolina Democrats Threaten Black Judicial Candidate

Another corrupt Palmetto State judge’s race …

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A party which prides itself on diversity and empowering black South Carolinians is conspiring to remove an eminently qualified black judicial nominee from a circuit court race. Not only that, Democratic leaders are threatening to remove the attorney from his position on a powerful regulatory panel unless he drops out in favor of a white candidate – who just so happens to be a former colleague of theirs.

South Carolina Democrats are also allegedly threatening the black candidate – Justin T. Williams of Wagener, S.C. – with professional retribution unless he stands aside for his white opponent.

Yesterday, my media outlet exclusively reported on the cognitive dissonance of “Republican” lawmakers seeking to install former Democratic House leader/ gubernatorial nominee James Smith as the Palmetto State’s next circuit court judge. It turns out that rank hypocrisy is nothing compared to the corrupt machinations on Smith’s behalf being undertaken by the Democratic half of South Carolina’s governing uniparty …

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According to multiple sources familiar with the status of this race, Williams is being pressured to drop out so that Democrats – including black Democrats – won’t be forced to cast a recorded vote against a qualified black candidate.

Williams has spent the last six years on the S.C. Public Service Commission (SCPSC) – an agency which has been working to rebuild its credibility in the aftermath of the calamitous role it played in South Carolina’s #NukeGate disaster in 2017. A former assistant solicitor who served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve, Williams was a decorated, trailblazing law school student who in addition to his prosecutorial work also has experience with a multi-state insurance defense law firm and a prominent Lexington County plaintiff and criminal defense law firm.

Smith? He admitted to the notoriously corrupt S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission (SCJMSC) last year that he hasn’t actively practiced law in five years. He’s also got serious ethical issues in his past … not to mention a serious problem telling the truth as he campaigns for this judicial seat.

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My issue, though, isn’t that Smith is a lying politician – or that he’s totally unqualified for this seat. And, to be clear, I am not endorsing Williams’ bid. I know Smith is the wrong man for the job, I’m just not sure if Williams is the right one.

My issue is with the process – the same corrupt process I’ve been calling out for years. The process by which a corrupt panel of lawyer-legislators rigs the vote ahead of time – and if that fails, relies on horse-trading and political threats to ensure that no one ever has to be held accountable for their vote.

South Carolina is one of only two states in America in which the legislature picks judges. As we have seen in far too many cases, powerful lawyer-legislators reap the rewards of their influence over this process by receiving preferential treatment on behalf of their clients. As this news outlet has consistently noted, the current system has enabled institutional corruption, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety.

It has also turned the judiciary into little more than a political annex of the legislature. Oh, and the problem is getting worse … not better. With ever-deadlier consequences.

What will fix the problem? Real reform.

What won’t fix it? Lawmakers installing more of their cronies.

But that’s exactly what these Democrats are doing …

(Click to View)

List of Democratic lawmakers supporting James Smith‘s candidacy for circuit court judge. (Provided)

Of interest? A copy of the letter pictured above was reportedly delivered to Williams at the same time the threats were made against his government office and his professional career … which raises a question: Are these lawmakers endorsing those threats along with their endorsement of Smith?

One ringleader of the effort to oust Williams was fuming at his defiance early Friday.

“Why the f*ck hasn’t he dropped out yet?” the legislative leader steamed, according to a source who participated in a conference call on the status of the judicial races.

Even worse, the source disclosed that the other half of the South Carolina uniparty – the “Republican” supermajority – was reportedly conspiring with Democrats to rig a separate circuit court race in favor of one of the two black candidates so that black Democrats would be able to save face after booting Williams from the race. This effort included GOP leaders allegedly lying to their Democratic colleagues about the vote count in that race … which pits Summerville, S.C. attorney Russell D. Hilton against sitting administrative law judge Milton G. Kimpson and Columbia, S.C. attorney Joseph Bias.

Lawmakers are attempting to rig that race for Kimpson, whose brother previously served in the S.C. Senate.

Will their efforts succeed? Sadly, it seems likely. Sources close to Williams said he was considering bowing to the pressure – and bowing out of the race – late Friday. However, he was concerned about stories being “efforted” by this media outlet and by The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper that might break before he was able to do so.

“He doesn’t want to lose and get tagged with retribution if there is negative press,” a source close to the commissioner told us.

While Williams may withdraw from the election, several lawmakers have told us they are not going to let the threats made against him go unaddressed.

Our sources also indicated S.C. senator Wes Climer – who has vowed to filibuster all judicial nominations unless this corrupt selection/ election practice is reformed – has caught wind of the uniparty machinations and is more determined than ever to follow through on his promise. Climer was also reportedly “working with conservative colleagues” in both chambers in an effort to rally them to vote against Smith’s candidacy.

Count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop on the very latest as this latest judicial scandal unfolds …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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7 comments

Rebecca Shields Top fan January 20, 2024 at 9:04 am

Thanks for staying on top of this problem. Light has got to be kept on this corruption and let them know it has to stop. What is most surprising is they don’t even try to hide it anymore. Todd Rutherford turned on that Ted Bundy charm while speaking with Will

Reply
SubZeroIQ January 21, 2024 at 6:12 pm

All right! Let me put here what I posted under FITSNews’ latest Week-in-Review, specially that Ron DeSantis has just dropped out.
But before I do, two more things:
(1) DeSantis cannot be Trump’s VP pick because the Constitution requires the President and the Vice President to be from different states; and Trump has officially made himself a Floridian more than two years ago.
(2) Those South Carolina politicians DeSantis has gathered to attack Haley must now have much egg on their face. I always knew that “southern gentleman” BS was code for incompetent white male who feels most threatened by a female of some color. And parenthetically, Nikki needs some color, not melanin but hemoglobin. She is getting too thin and pale for her own good. A little self-care, Nikki! Learn from Simone Biles; but do not take a whole season, just a week between Nevada and South Carolina.
Now to my post on WIR:
Why should Nikki Haley drop out if she does not win New Hampshire, or even South Carolina for that matter?
It’s a great big country out there; and not all of it thinks like Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.
Heck! Not even Georgia or North Carolina thinks like South Carolina.
The REAL math: Nikki Haley can rout Trump if you add the blue bicoastals (they have Republicans, too, but of a different kind) and even some of the OTHER heartland.
“First in the South” does NOT mean “first AND LAST in the South.”
If Mahatma Ghandi had given up the first time the British refused to evacuate India, India would still have been a British colony today.
You guys do not understand immigrant perseverance.

Reply
Nikki Who? January 22, 2024 at 9:00 am

Losing your home state isn’t a good look. Not like it matters anyways though, if Nikki bombs on Super Tuesday she won’t recover.

Reply
Cranston Snord Top fan January 21, 2024 at 7:08 pm

While I agree with Folks that the procedure for selecting Circuit judges should be changed immediately I haven’t seen an alternative method proposed that will produce better judges .

Sure as hell can’t have them elected to the position by the public as they will be owned by the supporters who dump the most cabbage into their election .

So what’s the Answer ?

Reply
Why Can't We Be This Cool? January 22, 2024 at 9:07 am

Just let anyone compete for a position as a judge.

We don’t need much. Chariots. Spears. Those are pretty easy to build in these modern times. Lions? Just keep them at Riverbanks when they aren’t needed. (Whenever they are borrowed, when we return them, they’ll already be fed for the day!)

We already have a coliseum we could use right here in Columbia. Imagine how much money the government could earn fairly on ticket sales!

Reply
Squishy123 (the original) January 23, 2024 at 2:43 pm

Has James Smith ever taken a job where he didn’t weasel into it through the help of his friends? What is he doing at Nelson Mullins if he admits to not practicing law for the past five years? Repeating his $200,000 salaried USC duties of standing in people’s doorways with his coffee cup while they’re trying to work? The guy doesn’t know word ethics.

Reply
Rachel Armstrong Top fan February 12, 2024 at 2:46 pm

Hahaha

Reply

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