Lawmakers Answer Questions About All-Male S.C. Supreme Court
One day ahead of the 2024 South Carolina legislative session beginning lawmakers hosted a Legislative Preview Day.
Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle came to discuss their pre-filed bills and hopes for the upcoming session.
Senator Greg Hembree said there will be a lot of talk about the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, or JMSC, and also talk of lawmakers involvement in the process. In January of 2023, three candidates were named as possibilities to replace Justice Kaye Hearn after she turned 72, which is the age judges are required to retired at in South Carolina.
Judge Stephanie McDonald, Judge Aphrodite Konduros, and Judge Gary Hill all advanced to the legislature’s judicial screening committee. But in the end, Gary Hill was chosen making South Carolina’s Supreme Court an all male, the only all male Supreme Court in the country.
News 19’s Andrea Mock and asked Senator Brad Hutto and Senator Shane Massey their opinions on how to add diversity to the all male court after the two qualified female judges weren’t chosen. Hutto said the issue came down to abortion views. He said he feels the court should represent the state’s population with women and minorities on it, but he was unwilling to vote for a candidate just based on those factors.
Meanwhile, Senator Massey said he wanted to select a justice who sees the world the way he sees the world so they agree on what’s best for South Carolina going forward.
He also said the bar needs to do a better job at grooming and getting females and minority attorney ready to be judges so that they can have the best candidates going forward.