Tag Archives: Judicial Merit Selection Commission

House member quit suddenly last year; now a judicial candidate. Coincidence?

July 27, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT What a difference a year can make – especially if you’re a state lawmaker. In unexpectedly resigning his longtime House seat last July after winning the Republican primary, Alan Clemmons, a Myrtle Beach attorney, said in an affidavit to the State Election Commission that he was withdrawing from the general election because […]

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Attorney with ties to SC senator wins judgeship

May 7, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT An attorney who works in a state senator’s law firm is Spartanburg County’s new master-in-equity judge – less than three months after the county’s legislative delegation, of which the senator is a member, quietly nominated her. The Senate and House this week confirmed Shannon Phillips, an attorney in Sen. Scott Talley’s law […]

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Golden parachute for state attorney general?

February 19, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Longtime state attorney general Alan Wilson could receive bigger retirement paychecks under legislation sponsored by two House leaders who also are lawyers. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, who is the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, and Chris Murphy, R-Dorchester, who is the House Judiciary Committee chairman, would allow […]

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Attorney who works in SC senator’s law firm one step closer to judgeship

December 16, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT With 2021 nearly here, S.C. lawmakers likely won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions to loosen their tight grip on the state court system. Legislative leaders have shown little interest in giving up power over the judicial selection process – which often favors friends and business associates of lawmakers. Sen. Scott Talley, […]

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State court system keeps staff salaries secret from the public

November 20, 2020

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Judicial Department – the third branch of state government – is refusing to publicly reveal salaries of its own employees, contending it isn’t legally required to do so. The Nerve on Oct. 18 submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the […]

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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Secret “letters of caution” routinely given to S.C. judges

December 11, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the last 17 fiscal years, state court officials tasked with policing judicial ethics issued more than 250 “letters of caution” – usually in secret – to judges statewide, the most common type of action taken on complaints that were not dismissed, a review by The Nerve found. Under state court rules, […]

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Ties to lawmakers present in judicial screening hearings; records kept secret

November 15, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a sitting S.C. Supreme Court justice, George James is first up Monday in a series of screening hearings by a legislatively controlled panel that will determine whether he and other lower-court judges will be nominated for election in the General Assembly. James, who is seeking his first full 10-year term on […]

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S.C.’s massive debt load partly based on misleading state finance report

March 15, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to debt, the state of South Carolina is swimming in billions of it. Yet an important report on the state’s finances, issued by Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom – the state’s chief accountant – and considered a key document by credit rating agencies in evaluating state debt, according to an […]

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Special corruption prosecutor won’t seek release of Harrell file

December 18, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The special prosecutor assigned to investigate legislative corruption won’t seek the public release of the long-closed file on the former S.C. House speaker whose case launched the State House probe, according to an attorney representing news media in South Carolina. The State Law Enforcement Division, which assisted special prosecutor David Pascoe, denied […]

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