Panel Advances Proposed Change to SC Judicial Selection

In South Carolina, a House committee has easily advanced a bill to let legislators pick judges from among all candidates considered qualified by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC), rather than restricting the choice to a list of three judges sent up by the commission.

The House judiciary panel voted unanimously to ease the restriction, according to an Associated Press article.

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina has pushed for increased diversity on the bench (see Gavel Grab). One of the reforms it has sought is expanding the number of candidates reported for a judgeship out of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission.

There is a perception, House Judiciary Chairman Greg Delleney said, that the current process permits an elite group to select judges because some candidates who otherwise are qualified are not considered for a vote by legislators.

Currently, according to a recent State article, “The commission only can nominate a maximum of three candidates for each seat, a process that shuts out many qualified candidates.”

The League of Women Voters is a JAS partner group.

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