Associate Supreme Court Justice Costa Pleicones still wants a shot at changing the state’s court operations. Moments after losing a legislative election for chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, the 69-year-old Pleicones said he will run again when Toal retires at the end of 2015. If we won, he would serve about a year before his intended retirement in Dec. 2016.
Wednesday, 19 senators and 55 representatives voted for him versus 27 senators and 55 Representatives for Toal. Legislators were not clearly divided by party, region or race. READ FULL VOTE TALLY.
We asked the associate justice if the contest would change anything in their relationship. “We’re professionals,” he responded.
The election of a State Supreme Court Justice temporarily turns the Statehouse into a type of conclave,with lawmakers quietly lobbying lawmakers. Myrtle Beach Sen. Greg Hembree, a former state prosecutor, gathered support for Pleicones and admits that the race creates tension.
“You can’t characterize it either other way, this is a political race, a judicial race that was political. Was there tension? Sure, you can feel it in the lobby.” Hembree told South Carolina Radio Network. “But I don’t think that tension will last for any meaningful amount of time.