South Carolina League increasing judicial diversitySubmitted by Elisabeth Mon Oct 11 2010 10:58:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Happy Columbus Day, ya'll from Atlanta, Georgia where I am home for a week before setting off again to Florida, Missouri and North Carolina.
On Friday, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina launched an ambitious project to increase diversity in the South Carolina courts. Between a keynote address calling for judicial independence and accountability and an important reminder that achieving independence, accountability and diversity will take time and effort from Bert Brandenburg of Justice At Stake, three diverse panels of legislators and academics discussed the issues facing the justice system in South Carolina.
Why legislators, you might ask. South Carolina and Virginia are unique in that judges are elected by the legislature. It was clear from the discussion Friday afternoon that while sincere efforts have been made to nominate candidates through a merit selection process, the system has a long way to go to achieve true merit selection and thereby true diversity.
Fortunately, the League is paying attention to this important issue in South Carolina. It will not surprise anyone that Friday's event was thoughtful, highly professional and candid. In fact, it was so well done that the South Carolina Bar gave attendees continuing legal education credit for attending! And the best news? The event was so impressive that several new members signed up on the spot!