ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson held a panel discussion Wednesday in Anderson that focused on how the state selects its judges and how it affects businesses, law enforcement and the community as a whole.
Wilson said the current process of judicial selection in South Carolina does not involve the executive branch.
Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) is responsible for choosing judges with the legislature voting on their selection.
“There isn’t any reciprocal check of power against the judiciary by the executive branch and we want to change that,” said Wilson.
According to Wilson, the proposed reform will create more accountability, cohesiveness and transparency within the system.
“We certainly think the legislature should elect the judges. Obviously they need to be a part of that process but we want the executive branch represented. We’re the ones that have to appear before the judiciary every single day, either as prosecutors are litigators to enforce the rule of law and so we should have a say, ” said Wilson.
Wilson explained how the judicial opinions affect everyone in the community and why the reform should be favored.
“For example, if you’re a victim of a crime, how judges rule from the bench as it relates to crimes against victims, how small businesses are affected when people bring lawsuits that basically raise the cost of living and raise the cost of doing business because you’re having to pay fees and things like that. It can affect you as a small business owner, it can affect you as a parent, it can affect you as a victim of a crime on who sits behind the bench,” said Wilson.
Wilson stated even though there are lawmakers that are opposed to the reform, he is working to find a common ground.
Wilson said he met with members of the General Assembly over the summer about this discussion. Lawmakers return to Columbia in January 2024.