Tag: S.C. Supreme Court

S.C. Supreme Court Denies School Rehearing

The S.C. Supreme Court denied a request by Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. General Assembly to rehear a school funding lawsuit it ruled on two months ago.

In its denial, the Court said it was unable to discover any material fact or principal of law that had been overlooked or disregarded when it first ruled on the case.

In November 2014, the Court ruled the state failed to provide to children in poor, rural school districts with a minimally adequate education as required by state law.

Bobby Harrell Investigation – Is the Fix In?

Most of you probably already know that earlier this week the S.C. Supreme Court reversed a circuit court ruling that ordered the grand jury investigation into possible political corruption by S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell ended.

The Supreme Court ruled that Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning erred when he said the case belonged in the S.C. House Ethics Committee unless the committee found evidence of a possible criminal violation at which time it would refer its findings to the Attorney General’s office.

The Court ruled that the existence of the House Ethics Committee “does not affect the Attorney General’s authority to initiate a criminal investigation in any way.”

Bobby Harrell v. Alan Wilson, No Clear Advantage

Neither side seemed to come away with a clear advantage from yesterday’s S.C. Supreme Court arguments to determine whether the state grand jury investigating possible criminal ethics violations by S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell should continue.

Last month, S.C. Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning ruled that a state grand jury investigation into alleged ethics violations by Harrell should be terminated.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn Manning’s ruling and allow the investigation to continue, leading to yesterday’s hearing.

Bobby Harrell v. Alan Wilson at Supreme Court Today

The S.C. Supreme Court will hear arguments beginning at 1:30 p.m. today on the continuing controversy over who has the right to investigate possibly illegal actions by S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

The case originally dates from an alleged ethics complaint brought to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson by the libertarian South Carolina Policy Council. It included allegations that Harrell used his influence as Speaker to obtain a contract for his pharmaceutical supply business and improperly appointed his brother to a judicial candidate screening committee.

(In South Carolina, the legislature appoints a panel that screens judicial applicants and sends recommendations back to the legislature which votes on the recommendations for final approval of the judges. To further complicate the situation, many of the applicants are former legislators.)

The complaint also questioned the use of approximately $324,000 of Harrell’s campaign funds to reimburse himself for costs associated with trips in his personal airplane.

Freedom of Information Act Retreat in South Carolina

The Freedom of Information Act in South Carolina took a huge step backward last week with a ruling issued by the S.C. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court basically ruled out any requirement for public bodies to tell citizens what they are doing, or intend to do, during their meetings.

The rather surprising Supreme Court ruling was based on interpretation by the justices of S.C. Code of Laws 30-4-80, otherwise known as the Freedom of Information Act.

Time to Replace Chief Justice Jean Toal – Updated

By Paul Gable
The S.C. General Assembly is set to vote today on whether Jean Toal will continue as Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court.

Toal and Associate Justice Costa Pleicones have spent the last several months lobbying legislators with neither, apparently, garnering enough support to force the other out of the race.

It takes a majority of those voting to win a new 10 year term that will begin July 1, 2014 with the new fiscal year. The Senate will begin voting at noon with the House following shortly thereafter.

Supreme Showdown Over State Pension Fund (Updated)

S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission will have a showdown in court Tuesday April 16th over transparency of retirement funds.

The commission, of which Loftis is a voting member, is suing Loftis in his position as custodian of the trust fund. The S.C. Supreme Court has accepted original jurisdiction on the case and has agreed to expedite a decision.

The court is holding in abeyance a decision whether documents and exhibits associated with the case will be allowed under seal or whether they will be part of the public record of the case.

At issue is Loftis’ refusal to sign a $50 million check for an “alternative investment” of state pension funds managed by investment firm Warburg Pincus. Loftis said he would not sign the check until the attorney for the SCRSIC has officially notified him in writing that all fees and other charges associated with the proposed investment are those approved by vote of the commissioners.

S.C. Supremes vs. Illegal Gambling

The S.C. Supreme Court struck a blow against illegal gambling this week when it upheld 2006 convictions of five people who were arrested for the supposedly serious crime of playing penny ante poker in a private home in Mt. Pleasant.

Even better, the convictions were based on an 1802 law that a majority of the judges considered flawed and outdated.

Do 1802 laws still count in South Carolina? That’s 58 years before the state seceded from the Union and joined in armed rebellion against the federal government. That losing effort had to void something.

Katrina Shealy, That Dog Won't Hunt

Katrina Shealy: I Swear I Did!

“The Defendant (Shealy) has already shown a propensity for saying things which are untrue, even under oath.”

The election contest for Senate District 23 is going to be nothing if not entertaining this year. Challenger Katrina Shealy who is opposing incumbent Sen. Jake Knotts, with the help of Gov. Nikki Haley, has become embroiled in a new legal challenge.

Shealy was one of the many Republican candidates left off the ballot after she failed to file her candidacy papers properly. The state Republican Party executive committee attempted to put her name back on the primary ballot after a special hearing in May. The S.C. Election Commission, however, refused to ignore a S.C. Supreme Court ruling by which Shealy was declared ineligible.

S.C. Supremes Deny Election Commission

S.C. Supremes Deny Election Commission

The S.C. Supreme Court Wednesday denied a petition by the S.C. Election Commission to dismiss a lawsuit by 7th Congressional district candidate Preston Brittain on certification of votes in the 7th Congressional race.

After the Election Commission threw out the 2300 plus votes cast for S.C. Rep. Ted Vick who had previously withdrawn his candidacy after an arrest in Columbia for DUI and weapon’s charges, and the Election Commission subsequently certified Gloria Bromell Tinubu as the Democratic Party nominee.

Brittain filed the suit In S.C. District Court last Friday, asking that the Election Commission be required to include Ted Vick’s votes in the total of votes cast, the result if successful would have triggered a runoff between Brittain and Gloria Bromell Tinubu.