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Stories From Around the State
Date: February 10, 2012
Location: Charleston School of Law, Charleston, South Carolina
Event: Panel Discussion
Partners: Charleston Law Review; Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman University
The League of Women Voters of South Carolina sponsored the panel "Fitness to Practice: What It Means for Attorneys and the Judicial System" at the 4th annual Law & Society Symposium in Charleston. This panel considered the issue of "fitness to practice" as it impacts the judicial selection system in South Carolina. Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, gave introductory remarks. Panelists included John Freeman, Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina and Member, Judicial Merit Selection Commission; State Representative John Davis Harrell, Member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission; State Representative David J. Mack III, Member of the South Carolina Judicial Merit Selection Commission; and Frances P. Segars-Andrews, former South Carolina family court judge. Professor Constance Anastapoulo, Charleston School of Law, acted as moderator. Participants raised specific issues, such as political influence when the legislature votes on nominees.
This week, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina stood with allies to oppose a bill seeking to impose new requirements on independent groups that register voters. The proposal is strikingly similar to a Florida elections law passed last year that, among other things, placed onerous restrictions on voter registration efforts, and led the League of Women Voters to stop registration activities in Florida. Recent research has indicated that the Florida law has already dampened voter registration rates in the state. Barbara Zia, president of the South Carolina League of Women Voters, said the League opposes both bills and is particularly concerned about new rules for voter registration drives in South Carolina, which include fines of up to $1,000 for groups: "It's going to make it difficult or virtually impossible for the League of Women Voters to continue to register voters in South Carolina," she said. "The effect would be to suppress the vote."
By: Cynthia Padera
Date: 7 PM, November 15, 2011
Location: Younts Conference Center, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina
Event: Press Conference
Partners: Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman University; Charleston School of Law
From April to November 2011, the League of Women Voters of Greenville County worked to build a new website providing comprehensive information about the South Carolina judiciary. The press conference—featuring guest speakers Malia Reddick of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and Dr. Barbara Zia, Co-President, League of Women Voters of South Carolina—officially unveiled the website. The event was free to the public and offered 1.0 CLE credit from the South Carolina Bar Association.
The full event is available as a video recording on YouTube.
By: Cynthia Padera
Date: October 21, 2011
Location: Columbia Marriott, Columbia, South Carolina
Partners: South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
The League of Women Voters of South Carolina co-sponsored the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association Leadership Conference on “Women Lawyers and Leadership: Status and Success in a Changed Profession,” featuring national and state-level speakers, including Anita Hill, Gloria Steinem, and South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal. League members were active participants in conference activities and staffed a table in the exhibition hall with information and materials from the “Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary” education campaign.
Date: 7 PM, October 12, 2011
Location: Visual Performing Arts Center at Hilton Head Island High School, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Event: Panel Discussion
The League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton sponsored a forum entitled “A Case for Diversity in South Carolina Courts,” featuring a panel of knowledgeable participants in the state judicial selection process. Panel members included State Senator Tom Davis; State Representative Andy Patrick; the Honorable Judge Carmen T. Mullen (14th Judicial Circuit); Kelly Jolley, Board member of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association; and State Representative David Mack III, member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission. Barbara Zia, Co-President of League of Women Voters of South Carolina, also presented an overview of the “Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary” campaign. This event was free to the public and approved for 1.5 CLE credits from the South Carolina Bar Association.
The coverage in The Beaufort Gazette noted that although there was not unanimous agreement on the League’s recommendations to reform South Carolina judicial selection, the event served to bring about needed dialogue. State Rep. David Mack III, who serves on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission and was on the panel, said: "To me, the biggest thing about this is we're having the dialogue; we're having the discussion."
The Brennan Center for Justice featured the forum in its Fair Courts E-lert, while the Justice at Stake Initiative featured it on its Gavel Grab blog.