Date:  October 8, 2010

Location:  Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina

Event:  Conference

Partners:  American Association of Retired Persons SC; American Association of University Women SC; American Judicature Society; Brennan Center for Justice; Center for Women; Charleston Branch NAACP; Charleston County Bar Association; Charleston Education Network; Charleston School of Law; College of Charleston Women and Gender Studies Program; Common Cause of South Carolina; Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina; Girl Scouts of SC--Mountains to Midlands; Jack & Jill of America, Inc., Charleston Chapter; Justice at Stake Campaign; League of Women Voters Education Fund; Riley Institute at Furman University; South Carolina NAACP; South Carolina Women Lawyers Association; Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics; University of South Carolina School of Law

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina’s “Initiative on Judicial Independence and Diversity” was officially launched on October 8, 2010 in Charleston with a conference attended by over 250 members of the public, elected officials, and students.  Conference speakers included national judicial reform leaders, including Bert Brandenburg of the Justice at Stake Campaign and Ciara Torres-Spelliscy of the Brennan Center for Justice.  The Honorable Rebecca Love Kourlis, Executive Director of the Institute for Advancement of the Legal Profession, was scheduled to speak but was unable to attend at the last minute due to a family emergency; Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States and retired attorney, delivered an effective adaptation of Justice Kourlis’ remarks on the interrelationship between judicial independence and judicial accountability.

South Carolina speaker participants included 5 legislators (Senator Gerald Malloy; Representative David Weeks, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus; Representative Jenny Horne, former President of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association; Representative Chandra Dillard; Representative David Mack, member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission) and 2 judges (the Honorable Carolyn Matthews, Administrative Law Court; the former Honorable Family Court Judge Frances P. Segars-Andrews), 2 current and former nominating commissioners (Representative David Mack; John Freeman, Professor Emeritus at University of South Carolina  Law School), 6 professors [John Freeman; John L.S. Simpkins, Assistant Professor, Director of Diversity Initiatives, Charleston School of Law; Constance Anastopoulo, Esq., Professor, Charleston School of Law; Teresa Cosby, Professor, Political Science, Furman University; Glen Halva-Neubauer, Dana Professor & Director, Mock Trial & Public Service Internship Program, Furman University; Andy L Abrams, Dean, Charleston School of Law], and 3 leaders in the legal community (Barbara George Barton, Esq., Former President & Ladder Group Chair, South Carolina Women Lawyers Association; M. Dawes Cooke, Jr., Chair, S.C. Bar Commission on Judicial Independence & Impartiality; and Rick Brundrett, Judicial Reporter, The Nerve, the online journal of the South Carolina Policy Council).