Time to Replace Chief Justice Jean Toal – Updated

Despite the fact that replacing Toal would have been the right move in our opinion, the SC General Assembly voted her a third term as Chief Justice.

I don’t know if that means all South Carolina drivers are free to leave the scene of accidents they may have, but, surely it means that South Carolina will continue to be graded “F” in ethics.

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.

However, according to state law, neither Toal (70) nor Pleicones (69) can serve a full 10 year term because mandatory state retirement age currently sits at 72.

Another interesting twist is this is reportedly the first time in history that an associate justice has challenged an incumbent chief justice for office.

Toal, in our opinion, is an ethically challenged judge in an ethically challenged legal system. Twice she has been ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident. In the first incident, when she was later found at home by police. Toal admitted to using alcohol earlier in the evening, but claimed it had no bearing on the accident.

Is it really too much in this state to require the Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court to obey the law?

But, it’s Toal’s executive oversight of the entire state Judicial Department that we find most egregious. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel is a joke, reliant on who you know and who is representing you rather than what you’ve done.

One only has to look at the case of attorney John Rakowski, that we have reported on several times, to see the truth about the ODC.

Unfortunately, it is not Toal’s judicial record that will be a determining factor in the vote. Instead it will come down to raw political power that determines who wins.


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