SEP 27, 2023

Attorney General Alan Wilson hosts third judicial reform panel discussion

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) - Attorney General Alan Wilson hosted a third panel discussion on the critical need for judicial reform, with Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride and Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo, speaking to the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce.

“Reforming the JMSC and how we select our judges is not a silver bullet that will fix everything, but correcting the imbalance of power is a good place to start,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “To deliver judicial reform that is truly accountable to the people, we need to give the Governor, or the executive branch, the appointments to the JMSC, remove legislators from serving on the JMSC, and send all qualified judicial candidates to the General Assembly for consideration. I’m having good conversations with legislative leadership, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

In South Carolina, judges are selected through the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) and voted on by the legislature. The JMSC currently has 10 members, 6 being sitting legislators. All the commissioners are appointed by the legislative leadership.

Attorney General Wilson continued, "Judicial reform, and our current judicial system, affects everyone. Both CEOs of major corporations and mom and pop shops on Main Street are heavily affected by the judicial climate in the state. I talk to business owners all the time, and they're paying attention to our current system. They want to feel that, should they get sued, they want a fair shake. When CEOs are trying to decide if they want to do business and invest in our state, they take a serious look at our current system and it raises some concerns.”

During the panel discussion, Sheriff McBride gave his perspective from the law enforcement community.

“We're the folks out on the street trying to keep people safe. Everything from the top trickles down to us. The way people are appointed to certain systems and offices directly affects us and the communities we're sworn to protect," said Sheriff McBride. "As law enforcement officers, we believe our system needs to be reformed because it often feels pro-criminal and anti-law and order. I echo everything Attorney General Wilson is calling for. We need more accountability."

Solicitor Stumbo shared his perspective and experience from the prosecution community.

“This is the most important issue facing South Carolina, and it’s been ignored for a very long time. There’s been times where our citizens have a lack of confidence in our system. It’s not necessarily because of the players. It’s because of the game,” said Solicitor Stumbo. “I am not saying throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I think we have got to get accountability in the system. Right now, that does not exist. We need some sort of accountability and transparency back to the system. I think giving more involvement to the Governor, and the rest of Executive Branch, will help do that. It’s constitutional and just good government.”

Attorney General Wilson will continue to push for serious judicial reform and host discussions across the state leading up to the next legislative session in January.

In August, Attorney General Wilson hosted a second panel discussion with the South Carolina Republican Party and Palmetto Family. Read the release here.

In July, Attorney general Wilson hosted a roundtable discussion with more than 30 legislators in attendance with Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Dr. Oran Smith of Palmetto Promise Institute. Read the release here.

In May, Attorney General Wilson hosted a private roundtable with 30 pastors and faith leaders from across the state.

In March, Attorney General Wilson led a bipartisan law enforcement coalition calling for judicial reform. Read the release here.

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