Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Friday, January 29, 2016

South Carolina Supreme Court Selection

South Carolina is one of only two states (along with Virginia) in which the legislature selects the supreme court.  In contrast to South Carolina, judges in many states (like federal judges) are appointed in a process that requires the consent of both the other two branches: legislative and executive.  Separation of powers.

Selection of a state Supreme Court justice by the SC General Assembly (legislature) begins with the state constitution which provides that "the General Assembly by law shall establish a Judicial Merit Selection Commission to consider the qualifications and fitness of candidates for all judicial positions on these courts and on other courts of this State which are filled by election of the General Assembly. The General Assembly must elect the judges and justices from among the nominees of the commission to fill a vacancy on these courts. No person may be elected to these judicial positions unless he or she has been found qualified by the commission...."

Now three candidates have cleared screening by the Judicial Standards Commission and are campaigning among legislators. As The State reports, "The election is on Feb. 3 at noon, when the 169 senators and representatives will gather in the House of Representatives. A winning candidate must have 85 votes – one-half of the 169 senators and representatives plus one – to win. A senator’s vote counts as much as a representative’s."

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article56203735.html#storylink=cpy

More on South Carolina judicial selection here.