Making Democracy Work

LWVSC Initiative on Judicial Independence and Diversity

Judicial Initiative Events and Activities in South Carolina

Safeguarding Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary

A GOOD IDEA POORLY EXECUTED: Judicial Selection and Diversity in South Carolina A research project by Professor John L. S. Simpkins for LWVSC

LWVSC's work to ensure a fair judiciary in South Carolina is outlined in this new report. From Theory to Practice: A Grassroots Education Campaign, shares lessons learned by the Kansas and South Carolina state and local Leagues that participated in Safeguarding Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary from 2009-2012. Link

The State of the Judiciary in South Carolina: From Research to Reality.

Paula Appling, Bill Hare, Barbara Zia

Zaida Arguedas, Lonnie Randolph, Sarah Leverette, Cynthia Padera

Joyce Franklin, Carole Cato, Bill Hare

John Freeman, Alice Anne Lehrman

Senator Knotts

Sarah Leverette, Janie Shipley

Senator Martin, Peggy Appler, Judge Lockemy

Nancy McCormick, Angel Warren

Judge Neuman, Susan Palmer, Barbara Zia

Panel: Larry Martin, Robert Wilcox, Carolyn Matthews, Alice Paylor, Leon Howard, John Simpkins, Constance Anastopoulo

John Ruoff, Joanne Day

Paul Garfinkle, Senator Knotts

Janie Shipley, Paula Appling, Jan Hammett

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina cordially invites you to the closing of our two-year project on the importance of independence and diversity in the state judicial system with a public forum entitled "The State of the Judiciary in South Carolina: From Research to Reality" to be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at the University of South Carolina School of Law Auditorium in downtown Columbia (corner of S. Main and Greene Streets). The 6 p.m. Reception will be followed at 7 p.m. by the Program. South Carolina Women Lawyers Association is a co-sponsor of the event.

Confirmed panelists include Senator Larry A. Martin (R-Pickens County, Dist. 2), Judiciary Committee Chair and Judicial Merit Selection Commission Vice Chair; Senator Floyd Nicholson (D-Abbeville, Greenwood & Laurens Counties, Dist. 10), Judicial Merit Selection Commission Member; Judge Carolyn C. Matthews, President, S.C. Women Lawyers Assoc.; Dean Robert M. Wilcox, University of South Carolina School of Law; Alice Paylor, President-Elect, South Carolina Bar; and John Simpkins, Assistant Professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives, Charleston School of Law. The forum will be moderated by Constance Anastopoulo, Associate Professor, Charleston School of Law.

At the August 7th Forum, the League and invited guests will review the results of our statewide education initiative, which began with our October 2010 conference in Charleston. The League expects to unveil partial research results on the current state of the South Carolina judicial system's independence and diversity. Panelists will share their views on issues related to judicial diversity and independence.

The Reception and Program are free and open to the public. Free two-hour CLE credits for South Carolina attorneys have been requested. Please RSVP by August 3 to Angel Warren at

Judicial Independence and Diversity Website (LWV of Greenville County)

Judicial Merit Selection Commission's Media Release August 9, 2012

Picture This: The 5W's of Judicial Diversity

On February 16, 2012, the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, will launch a contest open to all high school students in the state: "Picture This: The 5W's of Judicial Diversity--Who? What? When? Where? Why?: Using Visual Media to Bring a Message to the Public". Spartanburg Students are asked to submit a 1-minute video, slideshow, photo, or graphic illustration that conveys the abstract idea that "[a] diverse judiciary in South Carolina is important because it instills confidence in citizens that court decisions will be fair and impartial." Submissions will be judged on clarity and creativity. The goal of the contest is to challenge South Carolina students to learn about their state's courts and to consider the importance of diversity to the judiciary.
Submissions will be shared for public comment on the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County's Facebook Page for the Contest, The Gavel

We urge you to "like" and review the entries along with the Spartanburg League. Submissions are due by April 15, 2012, and winners will be announced on Law Day (May 1, 2012). As part of publicity for the contest, Linda Bilanchone of the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County was interviewed on January 23 on South Carolina ETV Radio's "Speaking of Schools" to discuss the contest. Speaking of Schools The segment begins at the 25:50 mark.

SC Chief Justice Jean Toal gave a presentation to the SC House Ways and Means Subcommittee

January 27, 2012, presentation

LWVSC Co-Sponsors Panel on "Fitness To Practice" at Charleston Law Review Symposium--Date: Friday, February 10, 2012;

 Location: Charleston School of Law; Symposium Partners: The Charleston Law Review and the Riley Institute at Furman.

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina will co-sponsor the panel "Fitness to Practice: What It Means for Attorneys and the Judicial System" at the 4th annual Law & Society Symposium in Charleston. This year's Symposium topic is "The Role of Government." The symposium opens with a keynote address by Professor A.E. Dick Howard, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia School of Law, on Thursday, February 9, at 5 pm. The symposium continues on February 10, at 8:30 am with panels focusing on campaign finance reform, immigration and states' rights, and same-sex marriage. The LWVSC-sponsored panel will begin at 2:45 pm on Friday and consider the issue of "fitness to practice" as it impacts the judicial selection system in South Carolina. Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, will give introductory remarks. Confirmed panelists include John Freeman, Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina and Member, Judicial Merit Selection Commission; John Davis Harrell, Member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission; State Rep. David J. Mack III, Member of the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission; and Frances P. Segars-Andrews, former S.C. family court judge. Professor Constance Anastopoulo, Charleston School of Law and LWV/Charleston Area, will moderate. Photos from Panel

More Judicial Initiative Information from South Carolina

Safeguarding Democracy Brochure

Visit our Judicial Independence and Diversity Website
This website, a project of the League of Women Voters of Greenville County, is a resource dedicated to achieving the long term goals of the Judicial Independence and Diversity Initiative. In addition, this website serves as a resource for anyone interested in knowing how the South Carolina Judicial Branch is organized and operates. Every effort will be made to ensure that the content of this website is current and accurate. Please contact the League of Women Voters of Greenville County ( if any information contained herein needs to be updated or appears inaccurate.

Click Here for Link

iCivics is a non-profit organization founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in partnership with Georgetown Law and Arizona State University. It is a web-based education project designed to teach middle school students civics and to inspire them to become active citizens. With a unique team of experts in law, history, and technology, iCivics is dedicated to reinvigorating civics learning through interactive resources and online games that teach students about law, public policy, and government. For teachers, iCivics offers free lesson plans, curriculum outlines, worksheets, and other practical classroom tools to increase civic knowledge, literacy, and critical thinking. For information about South Carolina's ICivics program, contact Dr. Jane Brailsford, South Carolina's iCivics Master Teacher Trainer, at JBRAILSFORD@GMAIL.COM or or 803-530-3005.

Join women leaders on October 21 at the Columbia Marriott for SC Women Lawyers Association's annual conference, "Women Lawyers and Leadership: Status and Success in a Changed Profession." The conference features nationally recognized speakers Professor Anita Hill, Gloria Felt, and Gloria Steinem, as well as local leaders, Chief Justice Jean Toal, Belinda Gergel, Deb Sofield, and others. LWVSC is a co-sponsor. Register now or for more information

LWVSC Judicial Initiative at the 2011 State League Convention, May 14-15 in Sumter
Convention Judicial Activities and Banquet Reservation Information below

Meeting with Judicial Merit Selection Commission


A Conference on: Ensuring an Independent and Diverse State Judiciary
October 8, 2010, 1:00-5:45 PM
Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston, SC
Reception followed: Alluette's Jazz Café, 137 Calhoun St.

South Carolina Judicial Initiative in the News

See news articles, opinion pieces, and radio interviews on our Judicial Initiative Media page.

  • Judicial Initiative in the Media
  • LWVUS Fair Judiciary Project

    LWVSC History on a Fair Judiciary