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SC: Legislative panel nominating unqualified judicial candidates?

By   /   November 26, 2012  /   News  /   No Comments

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve

ORDER: Are candidates nominated for the bench actually qualified for the job?

COLUMBIA — A judicial screening committee dominated by state lawmakers has nominated a top court administrator and two other attorneys for family court judgeships, despite a report claiming that the candidates are unqualified for the seats.

The Judicial Qualifications Committee of the S.C. Bar, the state’s professional organization for attorneys, determined that Rosalyn Frierson, who has been the S.C. Court Administration director since 1998, is unqualified for a newly created, at-large family court seat, citing a lack of experience, according to a recent committee report.

The committee also found Columbia attorney Robert Masella and Greenwood lawyer Tommy Stanford unqualified for two other existing family court seats.

But the state panel that nominates judges — the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission — nominated Frierson, Masella and Stanford for the seats after finding them qualified during screening hearings earlier this month, records show.

Under state law, the commission nominates judicial candidates for election in the S.C. General Assembly. The S.C. Bar’s judicial qualifications reports can be considered by, though are not binding on, the commission.

Screening hearings for the next round of judicial elections are scheduled to continue Tuesday.

South Carolina and Virginia are the only two states where their legislatures play primary roles in electing judges. By law, six of the 10 members of the Palmetto State’s Judicial Merit Selection Commission are state lawmakers – an organizational structure not found anywhere else in the country, The Nerve previously reported.

Read the full story at The Nerve.