Legislators have chosen a Circuit Court judge from Sumter as South Carolina’s newest state Supreme Court justice.
Members of the House and Senate on Wednesday elected Judge George “Buck” James to the state’s highest court. The vote came after two other candidates dropped out of consideration once James secured pledges from a majority of lawmakers earlier this week.
James said he was still a bit nervous heading into the vote. “Like Yoga Berra said, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said after the vote. “I was confident, but it’s a flat-out full process and you’ve got to go through it all.”
Other candidates had been Summerville circuit judge Dianne Goodstein and Woodruff circuit court judge Keith Kelly. Both candidates withdrew their names once it became apparent that James had secured enough votes from lawmakers. Goodstein dropped out Tuesday.
The seat came open earlier this year after Chief Justice Costa Pleicones reached the mandatory retirement age. Fellow Supreme Court judge Donald Beatty replaced Pleicones as chief justice last month. James will serve out the rest of Beatty’s term through 2020.
James worked as an attorney for two decades before he was elected as resident judge from the Third Judicial Circuit in 2006. He is a graduate of The Citadel and the University of South Carolina School of Law.