Magistrates and Municipal Judges Facing Complaints must be Rescreened Before Reappointment

H.4494 would require that magistrates and municipal judges who were disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct during their term due to a complaint, or who are facing an active complaint with the commission, be rescreened by the legislatively controlled Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) before they can be reappointed for another term.

This is a largely meaningless reform. H.4494 completely fails to address the central problem of South Carolina’s judicial system, legislative control. South Carolina is one of only two states where the legislature is involved in both the nomination and the election of judges (the other is Virginia). Requiring judges be rescreened by a Commission controlled by the legislature (and more specifically by three particular legislators) does nothing to remove the influence legislators have on judges. Real reform to our judicial system means having judges appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

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