South Carolina: Legislature can’t vote active legislators into judgeships, but can they vote their family members in? House and Senate bills would ban practice.

South Carolina’s one of only two states (Virginia’s the other) where the legislature elects/selects judges for most (SC) or all (VA) courts; the governor plays no role except for interim appointments. In South Carolina there is an existing statute which prohibits legislators from being elected until they leave office for at least 1 year. Now there’s a proposal (HB 4404 and the similar SB 1082) to extend that 1-year prohibition to spouses and other family members as well.

The Senate version keeps the 1 year ban on legislators and extends it to a “spouse, child, parent, sibling, mother-in-law, or father-in-law” of a General Assembly member.

The House version is broader and makes the ban longer (5 years) for both the General Assembly member and his or her “spouse, child, parent, sibling, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or any person who is domiciled for the previous six months or more with any of the above named relations of any member of the General Assembly…”

Both bills have been filed in their respective Judiciary Committees.