South Carolina’s top judges could see a rather nice raise to their six-figure salaries this year.
A state Senate panel gave initial approval Tuesday to a plan increasing judicial pay. The chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court would see about a 15 percent raise, bringing his salary to $180,000 a year. Chief Justice Donald Beatty’s current salary is $156,234 each year.
The bill’s sponsor State Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, said it’s an effort to bring judges and others pay in line with what they do. “(We’re) treating jurists and our constitutional officers like the experts they are.”
The South Carolina Judicial Department had requested a 20 percent pay hike for its judges in its agency budget request. That would have put the chief justice’s salary at $188,000 a year.
Supreme Court associate justices would be paid $171,000, or 95 percent of the chief justice’s salary.
Malloy said that this just a starting point. “If there is a need to for a change or further discussion, we’ll cross that path when we get there,’ said Malloy. “I realize that there may be some differences as we go forward. There seems to be a lot of opinion on this bill.”