State House

South Carolina Pro-Life Group Takes Aim At Candidate In Upcoming Judicial Election

“A vote for James Smith will be scored as an anti-life, pro-abortion vote.”

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South Carolina’s top pro-life organization has made it clear that “Republicans” who vote for the former Democratic House leader – and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee – as the Palmetto State’s next circuit court judge will have those votes counted against them.

Will this warning to GOP lawmakers regarding the candidacy of former minority leader James Smith make a difference? And more to the point: Will lawmakers even get a chance to vote on Smith if a GOP senator makes good on his promise to block judicial votes absent long-overdue reform to this corrupt system?

We shall see …

According to a letter obtained by this media outlet, S.C. Citizens for Life ( executive director Holly Gatling informed lawmakers on Monday (January 22, 2024) that her group “strongly opposes pro-abortion activist James Smith for a judgeship on the circuit court of South Carolina.”

“We intend to score the vote,” Gatling wrote. “A vote for James Smith will be scored as an anti-life, pro-abortion vote.”



In her letter, Gatling included a message from board member Wayne Cockfield, a retired Marine Corps sergeant.

“James Smith is trying to downplay his radical pro-abortion voting record, and instead, tout himself as a combat veteran of Afghanistan,” Cockfield wrote. “As a combat veteran, I believe it is the duty of a civilized nation to protect its weakest members. Democrat James Smith does not.”

Cockfield went on to assail Smith as an “abortion extremist” who has been “AWOL” when it comes to “protecting pregnant women and unborn children.”

Smith’s candidacy for the circuit court has revived an issue GOP leaders thought they dealt with decisively last year.

South Carolina’s supreme court upheld a six-week abortion ban last summer – a decision which was presumed to have been the last word on this hot-button issue in the Palmetto State for the foreseeable future. That is clearly not the case, however.

As my media outlet has repeatedly pointed out, South Carolina is one of only two states in America where the legislature picks judges. Ideology aside, the system has been a disaster – a veritable breeding ground for corruption. 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 malfeasance, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety.

For more on how this failed status quo is rallying behind Smith’s candidacy, click here …

BANNER: Travis Bell Columbia SC Photographers



(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 eight children.



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