Jean H. Toal

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Jean Hoefer Toal
Chief Justice of South Carolina
In office
March 23, 2000[1] – December 31, 2015
Preceded by Ernest A. Finney, Jr.
Succeeded by Costa Pleicones
Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court
In office
March 17, 1988 – March 23, 2000
Preceded by George Gregory, Jr.
Succeeded by Costa Pleicones
Personal details
Born (1943-08-11) August 11, 1943 (age 73)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Alma mater Agnes Scott College
University of South Carolina School of Law

Jean Hoefer Toal (born August 11, 1943) is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Toal is the first woman and the first Roman Catholic to serve as Chief Justice.

Toal graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1965 and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1968, where she was Managing Editor of the South Carolina Law Review. As a lawyer, she argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Catawba Nation. She represented Richland County as a Democrat in the South Carolina House of Representatives for 13 years before being elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court in 1988 and sworn in on March 17, 1988,[2] the first woman elected to this position.[3] She was reelected over Tom Ervin in 1996.[4]

Toal was elected Chief Justice in 2000, and served until December 31, 2015, after reaching the mandatory retirement age for judges in South Carolina. She served as the President of the Conference of Chief Justices from July 2007–July 2008.[5]

Toal is also the subject of "Madame Chief Justice" which is a collection of essays about Toal which spans her career.[6]


  1. ^ "Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal". South Carolina Judicial Department. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "First woman justice sworn in". Herald-Journal. Spartanburg, South Carolina. March 18, 1988. pp. B4. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ Toal aims to be state's first female chief justice
  4. ^
  5. ^ "CONFERENCE OF CHIEF JUSTICES CHAIRMEN AND PRESIDENTS 1949-1950 to present". Past Presidents. Conference of Chief Justices. July 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jean Toal: Lawyer, legislator, chief justice – mentor". thestate. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 

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