State lawmakers have chosen the newest justice on South Carolina’s Supreme Court.
Judge John Few is the first new justice tapped to the state’s highest court since 2009. Few has led the South Carolina Court of Appeals as chief judge for the past six years. He won a close vote Wednesday to take an open seat in the Supreme, defeating fellow appeals court judge H. Bruce Williams 92-73. Supreme Court judges in South Carolina are elected by a joint session of the state legislature.
“There’s just excitement, relief, and understanding the responsibility that comes with winning that seat,” Few told reporters shortly after the vote. “So, (I’m) excited and yet serious about it.”
He will replace former Chief Justice Jean Toal, who stepped down in December after reaching the mandatory retirement age last year. Last year, legislators picked Associate Justice Costa Pleicones to take over as chief justice for the Supreme Court. He reaches the mandatory retirement age later this year, so lawmakers will have to find another replacement by June.
Few had unsuccessfully run for a seat on the Supreme Court on three previous occasions. Few was able to secure a majority of legislators after chief judge of the Administrative Law Court Ralph King Anderson dropped out of the race less than 24 hours before Wednesday’s vote.