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Becoming A Judge In South Carolina

Right now it is Political Season in our Country, our State, and our Municipalities.  In South Carolina it is Judicial Season also.

Selection of state court judges in South Carolina occurs largely through legislative election.  South Carolina is one of only two states in the country where judges are elected by the general assembly rather than by the governor or people. The other is Virginia.

Across the state’s appellate and trial courts, there are five supreme court justices, nine appeals court judges, and 46 circuit court judges.

Selection process

The five justices of the supreme courtnine judges of the court of appeals and the 46 judges of the circuit courts are selected in a similar manner. The South Carolina Judicial Merit Selection Commission screens and selects candidates for judgeships then submits a list of three names to the general assembly. The assembly then votes on the candidates, either choosing one of the three recommendations or rejecting the entire slate.

Supreme court justices serve 10-year terms; appeals and circuit judges serve six-year terms. Upon finishing their terms, judges are subject to re-election by the legislature.

Selection of the chief justice or judge

The supreme, appeals and circuit courts vary in their selection of a chief justice or judge:

  • The supreme court chooses its chief justice by the same legislative election process used to select other judges. The chief serves in that capacity for ten years.
  • The court of appeals also selects is chief judge by legislative election. The chief serves in that capacity for six years.
  • The chief judge of each circuit court is designated by the supreme court chief justice, serving in that capacity for only six months.

Qualifications

Requirements between the appellate and general jurisdiction courts are identical. To serve on either the supreme, appeals or circuit court, a judge must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • between the ages of 32 and 72;
  • a resident of the state for at least five years; and
  • licensed as an attorney for at least eight years.

A judge who reaches the age of 72 in office must retire by the end of that calendar year.

Conclusion: 

You may ask why I bring this up now?  Simply because I have been asked to put my name in for nomination to be a Judge for the State of South Carolina.  Now there is no guarantee that I will pass selection or appointment, however when called to serve, we will at least pray about it.  A part of this process is getting letters of recommendation.

As such, if you the people I serve now feel that this is something that would be a good benefit for the State of South Carolina, I need as many letters of recommendation as I can get by this Friday, July 17th, 2020.   They must be original letters, so please mail and or drop them off if you are willing.   In the meantime, if all you can do is post a message to our social media pages and or email me your feelings on this I am all ears.  Please feel free to leave a review for Goldfinch Winslow here »

After all, a Judge is simply a servant to the Rule of Law and their legal community.  Based on the response of my community and our family prayers, we will decide how we feel God is calling us to serve our community.

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