Judiciary

Judiciary

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POSITION


LWVSC supports an independent, unified judicial system through:

1. Merit selection of judges at all levels, including magistrates, through the establishment of a judicial nominating commission on a statewide level; and

2. Establishment of a judicial qualifications commission at a statewide level for the discipline and removal of judges at all levels.

 

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LWVSC - Judicial Selection Process

Quest for a more Diverse Judiciary 

LWVSC's work to ensure a fair judiciary in South Carolina is outlined in this new report. From Theory to Practice: A Grassroots Education Campaign, shares lessons learned by the Kansas and South Carolina state and local Leagues that participated in Safeguarding Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary from 2009-2012. 

THE STATE OF THE JUDICIARY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: FROM RESEARCH TO REALITY.
 

Paula Appling, Bill Hare, Barbara Zia

Paula Appling, Bill Hare,
Barbara Zia

 

 
John Ruoff, Joanne Day

 

 
Joyce Franklin, Carole Cato, Bill Hare
 
 
John Freeman, Alice Anne Lehrman

   Sarah Leverette, Janie Shipley

Sarah Leverette, Janie Shipley

 Senator Martin, Peggy Appler, Judge Lockemy

Senator Martin, Peggy Appler, Judge Lockemy

   Nancy McCormick, Angel Warren

Nancy McCormick, Angel Warren

 Judge Neuman, Susan Palmer, Barbara Zia

Judge Neuman, Susan Palmer, Barbara Zia

 Paul Garfinkle, Senator Knotts

Paul Garfinkle, Senator Knotts

 Janie Shipley, Paula Appling, Jan Hammett

Janie Shipley, Paula Appling, Jan Hammett

 Zaida Arguedas, Lonnie Randolph, Sarah Leverette, Cynthia Padera

Zaida Arguedas, Lonnie Randolph, Sarah Leverette, Cynthia Padera

 Panel: Larry Martin, Robert Wilcox, Carolyn Matthews, Alice Paylor, Leon Howard, John Simpkins, Constance Anastopoulo

Panel: Larry Martin, Robert Wilcox, Carolyn Matthews, Alice Paylor, Leon Howard, John Simpkins, Constance Anastopoulo

     Senator KnottsSenator Knotts

       From Research to Reality

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina cordially invites you to the closing of our two-year project on the importance of independence and diversity in the state judicial system with a public forum entitled "The State of the Judiciary in South Carolina: From Research to Reality" to be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at the University of South Carolina School of Law Auditorium in downtown Columbia (corner of S. Main and Greene Streets). The 6 p.m. Reception will be followed at 7 p.m. by the Program. South Carolina Women Lawyers Association is a co-sponsor of the event.

Confirmed panelists include Senator Larry A. Martin (R-Pickens County, Dist. 2), Judiciary Committee Chair and Judicial Merit Selection Commission Vice Chair; Senator Floyd Nicholson (D-Abbeville, Greenwood & Laurens Counties, Dist. 10), Judicial Merit Selection Commission Member; Judge Carolyn C. Matthews, President, S.C. Women Lawyers Assoc.; Dean Robert M. Wilcox, University of South Carolina School of Law; Alice Paylor, President-Elect, South Carolina Bar; and John Simpkins, Assistant Professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives, Charleston School of Law. The forum will be moderated by Constance Anastopoulo, Associate Professor, Charleston School of Law.

At the August 7th Forum, the League and invited guests will review the results of our statewide education initiative, which began with our October 2010 conference in Charleston. The League expects to unveil partial research results on the current state of the South Carolina judicial system's independence and diversity. Panelists will share their views on issues related to judicial diversity and independence.

The Reception and Program are free and open to the public. Free two-hour CLE credits for South Carolina attorneys have been requested. 
 
JUDICIAL MERIT SELECTION COMMISSION'S MEDIA RELEASE AUGUST 9, 2012

LWVSC CO-SPONSORS PANEL ON "FITNESS TO PRACTICE" AT CHARLESTON LAW REVIEW SYMPOSIUM--DATE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2012;  LOCATION: CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW; SYMPOSIUM PARTNERS: THE CHARLESTON LAW REVIEW AND THE RILEY INSTITUTE AT FURMAN.
The League of Women Voters of South Carolina will co-sponsor the panel "Fitness to Practice: What It Means for Attorneys and the Judicial System" at the 4th annual Law & Society Symposium in Charleston. This year's Symposium topic is "The Role of Government." The symposium opens with a keynote address by Professor A.E. Dick Howard, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia School of Law, on Thursday, February 9, at 5 pm. The symposium continues on February 10, at 8:30 am with panels focusing on campaign finance reform, immigration and states' rights, and same-sex marriage. The LWVSC-sponsored panel will begin at 2:45 pm on Friday and consider the issue of "fitness to practice" as it impacts the judicial selection system in South Carolina. Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, will give introductory remarks. Confirmed panelists include John Freeman, Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina and Member, Judicial Merit Selection Commission; John Davis Harrell, Member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission; State Rep. David J. Mack III, Member of the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission; and Frances P. Segars-Andrews, former S.C. family court judge. Professor Constance Anastopoulo, Charleston School of Law and LWV/Charleston Area, will moderate. 
 
MORE JUDICIAL INITIATIVE INFORMATION FROM SOUTH CAROLINA
 
i Civics
iCivics is a non-profit organization founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in partnership with Georgetown Law and Arizona State University. It is a web-based education project designed to teach middle school students civics and to inspire them to become active citizens. With a unique team of experts in law, history, and technology, iCivics is dedicated to reinvigorating civics learning through interactive resources and online games that teach students about law, public policy, and government. For teachers, iCivics offers free lesson plans, curriculum outlines, worksheets, and other practical classroom tools to increase civic knowledge, literacy, and critical thinking. For information about South Carolina's ICivics program, contact Dr. Jane Brailsford, South Carolina's iCivics Master Teacher Trainer, at icivicssc@gmail.com.
 
 
LWVSC Judicial Initiative at the 2011 State League Convention, May 14-15 in Sumter
 
LWVSC Judicial Initiative at the 2011 State League Convention 
 
 
  • Constance Anastopoulo

LWV member, Prof. Constance Anastopoulo presented on June 22, 2011 in Washington, DC, at the American Association of Law School's Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality on the topic of "Why Diversity on the Bench Matters." The talk was an extension of Prof. Anastopoulo's work on the LWVSC Initiative on Judicial Selection in South Carolina. The workshop addressed the unfinished business of equality as women confront complex professional challenges in the judicial system. 

  • September 30, 2011 State League Celebrates 60th Anniversary with speech on Judicial Diversity
  • September 14, 2011 State League meets with the South Carolina Bar Association
  • September 7, 2011 State League Celebrates Women's Equality Day at Statehouse with speech on Judicial Diversity
Meeting with Judicial Merit Selection Commission
 
LWV members and our Judicial Initiative partners met with the South Carolina Judicial Merit Selection Commission on Thursday, Feb. 17th at 3 pm in Room 209, Gressette Building, on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. JMSC Chief Counsel Jane Shuler and several commissioners were eager to discuss with us the judicial selection process in our state.
 
The meeting's purpose was to gather information about the role that the JMSC and regional Citizens Committees play in selection of judges. That information will be used to set goals that our Initiative will work to achieve in 2011. Specifically, we wanted to learn about:
  • - the process used to seek out qualified judicial candidates, including how and to which audiences openings are advertised
  • - the makeup of the JMSC and Citizens Committees and what role can our Leagues play in filling vacancies that may occur
  • - how records are kept of the gender and racial makeup of applicants and how they they progress through the selection process
  • - transparency of the application and interviewing process
  • - possible interest of members of the committees to participate in diversity/implicit bias trainings

Notes from the Meeting with JMSC

State League meets with South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal on November 15, 2010

SOUTH CAROLINA KICK-OFF of JUDICIAL DIVERSITY CAMPAIGN
A Conference on: Ensuring an Independent and Diverse State Judiciary
October 8, 2010, 1:00-5:45 PM
Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston, SC
Reception followed: Alluette's Jazz Café, 137 Calhoun St.

Conference Press Release

LWVUS FAIR JUDICIARY PROJECT
2010 Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary Brochure

LWVSC HISTORY ON A FAIR JUDICIARY
2008 Forum on Judicial Selection in South Carolina

A Fair Judiciary

The LWVSC supports an independent, unified judicial system with:
  • Merit selection of judges at all levels, including magistrates, through the establishment of a judicial nominating commission on a statewide level; and
  • Establishment of a judicial qualifications commission at a statewide level for the discipline and removal of judges at all levels.
The League has worked to improve the process in South Carolina to ensure a qualified, independent, and diverse judiciary.

Judicial Selection Process

LWVSC Questions Constitutionality of Judicial Selection Process in South Carolina: On January 6, 2010, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) filed a Motion for Leave to file an Amicus Brief and the Amicus Curiae Brief of the LWVSC with the Supreme Court of South Carolina. This Amicus Curiae Brief supports a petition that challenges the constitutionality of the way in which judges are selected in South Carolina. The petition deals with the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission's ruling that Charleston Family Court Judge Segars-Andrews is unqualified. Segars-Andrews v. Judicial Merit Selection Commission, et al. was filed in the Supreme Court in December 2009. The process of judicial selection in South Carolina has long been an area of interest and concern for the LWVSC. This case goes to the heart of LWVSC's support of: a constitutional framework of a balance among the three branches of government--legislative, executive and judicial; a judiciary that is qualified, independent and diverse; and merit selection of judges at all levels through a statewide judicial nominating commission. LWVSC's brief was filed out of concern that the Judicial Merit Selection Commission serves as "gatekeeper" to keep many qualified, diverse, and independent people screened out of the selection process. The LWVSC believes that diversity at all levels of our state courts is crucial, not only because different viewpoints make for a more robust jurisprudence, but because it will help to legitimize our justice system in the eyes of an ever-diversifying public.

Our September 2008 public forum on issues around judicial selection and the members of that panel (Chief Justice Jean Toal, Rep. Greg Delleney, Prof. John Freeman, Prof. John Simpkins, Attorney Barbara Barton George and Attorney I.S. Leevy Johnson) give us a particular acuity and position to support this action. The goal of the forum was to increase citizen understanding on the importance of our governmental system of separation of powers and highlight the vital need for protecting a fair, independent and diverse judiciary. The LWVSC did not file the Amicus Brief to address one particular judge's qualifications; rather we wanted to address the constitutionality of the process. Our Brief only questions constitutional issues around judicial selection, specifically the make-up of the Judicial Merit Selection Committee with its majority of state legislators. The brief does not address whether or not Judge Segars-Andrews is qualified.

The LWVSC believes that this case which challenges how judges are selected in our state is long overdue and much needed.