South Carolina Supreme Court

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Supreme Court of South Carolina
SCSupreme CourtSeal.jpg
Established 1841
Country  South Carolina
Location Columbia
Composition method Election by the General Assembly
Authorized by S.C. Const. art. V, §§ 1-2
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length Six years, staggered
Number of positions 5
Website Supreme Court
Chief Justice
Currently Costa M. Pleicones
Since 1 January 2016

The South Carolina Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The court is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices.[1][2]

Selection of Justices[edit]

Judges are selected by the legislature of South Carolina to serve terms of ten years.[2][3] There is no prohibition against justices serving multiple terms on the court.[3] However, there is a mandatory retirement age of 72 for state trial judges and state appellate judges in South Carolina.[4]

Current Justices of the Court[edit]

For a list of previous justices see List of Justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court.


The court enjoys both original and appellate jurisdiction. It enjoys exclusive appellate jurisdiction for all state cases regarding the death penalty, state utility rates, judgments involving public bonded indebtedness and elections, and orders limiting state grand juries and relating to abortions by minors. Original jurisdiction pertains to the issuance writs including mandamus, certiorari, and very extraordinary bills.[5]

Additional Charges of the Court[edit]

The South Carolina Supreme Court oversees the admission of individuals to practice law in the state.[6] Much of the administration regarding admissions and practice is delegated to the South Carolina Bar, established by statute as an administrative arm of the court; however, the court retains ultimate authority in South Carolina governing the practice of law.[7] It also supervises the disciplining of attorneys and suspension of those no longer able to practice due to mental or physical condition.[8]


Supreme Court of South Carolina Building
Supreme Court of South Carolina Building, December 2009
South Carolina Supreme Court is located in South Carolina
South Carolina Supreme Court
South Carolina Supreme Court is located in USA
South Carolina Supreme Court
Location 1231 Gervais St.,
Columbia, South Carolina
Coordinates 34°0′6″N 81°1′57″W / 34.00167°N 81.03250°W / 34.00167; -81.03250Coordinates: 34°0′6″N 81°1′57″W / 34.00167°N 81.03250°W / 34.00167; -81.03250
Area 0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
Built 1917 (1917)–1921
Architect Gill & Wilkins; Andrew V. Kerns
NRHP Reference # 72001220[9]
Added to NRHP October 18, 1972

The Supreme Court of South Carolina Building is located in the state capital of Columbia. The court moved into its current location, a former United States Post Office building, in 1971.[10] It was built between 1917 and 1921, and is a two-story, Neo-Classical style building. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.[11][12] Prior to 1971, the court met in a section of the South Carolina State House in an area totaling approximately 1,400 square feet (130 m2); the justices did not have individual offices, but instead met in a common conference room when not presiding over a session of court.[10]

Controversy arose in late 2007 after The State newspaper reported that the Supreme Court reversed the grades of 20 people who failed the South Carolina bar exam, including children of prominent attorneys, by voiding the results of the wills, trusts, and estates section of the exam.[13][14][15]

From 1930 to 2016, the South Carolina Supreme Court has had 17 Chief Justices. The current Chief Justice is Costa M. Pleicones.


  1. ^ S.C. Const. art. V, § 2
  2. ^ a b S.C. Code Ann. § 14-3-10
  3. ^ a b S.C. Const. art. V, § 3
  4. ^ S.C. Code Ann. § 9-8-60(1)
  5. ^ S.C. Code Ann. § § 14-3-310 to -330
  6. ^ S.C. Const. art. V, § 4
  7. ^ S.C. Code Ann. § 40-5-20
  8. ^ S.C. Code Ann. § 40-5-10
  9. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  10. ^ a b Littlejohn, Bruce Littlejohn's South Carolina Judicial History: 1930-2004, Joggling Board Press, Charleston, SC (2005). ISBN 0-9753498-6-4
  11. ^ Dollie McGrath (August 1971). "Supreme Court of South Carolina Building" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  12. ^ "Supreme Court of South Carolina Building, Richland County (Gervais & Sumter Sts., Columbia)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  13. ^ Monk, John (November 16, 2007). "S.C. Bar to court: Explain actions". The State. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. 
  14. ^ Brundrett, Rick (December 2, 2007). "Supreme Court not off the hook". The State. Columbia, South Carolina. Archived from the original on December 4, 2007. 
  15. ^ Brundrett, Rick (January 26, 2008). "Toal says fairness drove decision". The State. Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. 

External links[edit]