Today (05.13.09), the General Assembly elected a new Supreme Court Justice. Normally, we have 3 choices for the high court. The Judicial Screen Committed “screens” out 3 candidates as being qualified. There is a date set in which we are allowed to seek and make commitments. This year’s Supreme Court race was different. Three candidates were screened out, yet two dropped out for various reasons. This left us with one choice, Judge Kaye Hearn. Judge Hearn is a very cordial individual and many are happy with her new post on the Supreme Bench. I congratulate her election.
I was concerned with this situation. For the highest court in the state, we should have at least three qualified candidates to choose from. As a matter of fact, I am now a cosponsor of S.777, legislation that calls for the screening committee to screen out all qualified candidates.
This is unfortunate for South Carolina as we now have a justice on the Supreme Court that is in favor of gun control and opposes the right to life. As I said before, we should have had more options.
Today, Sen. Lee Bright made a motion to send the judicial slate back to the screening committee. I supported this motion as I was uncomfortable for the situation the General Assembly found itself in. Even though his amendment was tabled, this action may create an interest in re-examining our judicial selection process. Also, I was compelled to vote “nay” in an uncontested judicial race.