Governor appoints judges with advice and consent of Senate
In 2012 the Policy Council launched an 8-point reform agenda aimed at making South Carolina the freest state in the nation. Among those reforms – and perhaps the most important – is judicial independence. This bill would eliminate the current process of the General Assembly electing judges and create a more accountable system where the Governor appoints Supreme Court, Appellate, and Circuit judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. The joint resolution would also eliminate the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) which currently screens all candidates to the aforementioned courts. SCPC has previously raised concerns over the JMSC when former speaker Bobby Harrell appointed his brother to serve on the commission which conflicted with the state’s nepotism statute.
S. 112 would similarly require the Governor to appoint judges to the Administrative Law Court and Family Court with advice and consent of the Senate.
The public deserves confidence that judges rule independently of the legislature whose laws they judge. Eliminating the unilateral power of the legislative branch to control the judicial branch is a critical reform.