When Donald Beatty becomes South Carolina’s chief judge next year, he will be just the second African-American to hold the post.
A joint session of the South Carolina House and Senate on Wednesday elected the associate state Supreme Court justice to lead the court. Beatty is now in line to take the post when current Chief Justice Costa Pleicones retires in December. None of the other four justices ran for the position, respecting Beatty’s seniority and leading to Wednesday’s unanimous vote.
“It speaks volumes about South Carolina,” Beatty told reporters on the historic nature of his win. “We are now moving in a progressive manner. We are moving forward and it’s good to see that the legislature supported this effort.”
Beatty would become just the second African-American to lead South Carolina’s judicial system and the first elected by a Republican-controlled legislature. Retired chief justice Ernest Finney led the state’s highest court from 1994-2000.
The Spartanburg native, has served on the Supreme Court since 2007, with 12 years of lower court service prior to his appointment there. Justice Beatty also served as a Spartanburg legislator in the state House of Representatives during the early 1990s. He will replace current Chief Justice Costa Pleicones in January after Pleicones reached the mandatory retirement age this year. [Read more…]