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The League of Women Voters of South Carolina is pleased to share continuing progress from the two-year judicial independence and diversity campaign conducted from 2010-2012. On January 24, 2013, a South Carolina House Judiciary panel voted unanimously to advance a bill that would allow the legislature to choose judges from among all candidates deemed qualified by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC), rather than limiting the choice only to a slate of three judges sent up by the commission.
This change is one of the top three priorities for the League of Women Voters of South Carolina because: 1) qualified minority candidates are often not chosen for the slate of three judges sent up to the legislature; 2) the JMSC has, in the past, sent up a slate of three with two weaker candidates and a clear frontrunner, thus making a de facto selection; and 3) the policy contributes to the public perception that the process is not transparent-that JMSC "plays favorites" and thereby compromises the ability of the judiciary to be fair and impartial.
Read more about these developments via an Associated Press article on MidlandsConnect.com, the website of Columbia Fox News affiliate, and on Justice at Stake's Gavel Grab blog.