Looking over pre-filed bills for the upcoming legislative year is always a fun exercise and this year is no different.
Most pre-filed bills never make it out of committee because they reflect a member’s personal agenda or message they want to send to the voters in their district.
Some, however, won’t make it out of committee because they would alter the power structure in Columbia.
Several bills filed by Rep. Chris Corley (R-84) fall into this second category. Corley pre-filed several bills to change the way judges are elected in the state. Corley wants the judges on the Supreme Court, Appeals Court, Circuit Courts and Family Courts to be popularly elected by the voters of South Carolina replacing the current system of election by the General Assembly.
In addition, Corley wants to prohibit any member of the General Assembly, their family and those of certain other relationships with members to be prohibited from eligibility for a judgeship for five years after the member leaves office.
I believe the question of popular election of judges should be debated on the floor. The current system of electing judges by a number of members who will be practicing before them has led to a legal system that brings anything but fairness for the general public.
Corley also pre-filed a bill to submit the question of whether the Confederate battle flag should be returned to its place by the soldier’s monument on statehouse grounds to the people in the form of a popular referendum in the 2016 general election.
Other pre-filed bills that caught my eye during a scan of pre-filed bills in the SC House: