Letter to the Editor: Stop Nepotism

We are all too keenly aware of the harmful effects of insider favoritism in politics. The recent Fairfield County/Chester County magistrate debacle certainly underscored the problems manifested by good ole’ boy practices. Fortunately, the state legislature has introduced bill, H.5090, which takes a step to address the problem of family elections/appointments to a judicial office. According to the South Carolina Policy Council, H.5090 “would prohibit lawmakers from electing their immediate family members to judicial office going forward, and would require a one-year cooling-off period after a lawmaker leaves office before his/her family members would be eligible to be a judge or magistrate – a much-needed reform.”

That is a big step in the right direction; however, the bill would be even more effective in curbing nepotism if it added personal friends to the list of ineligible judicial appointees.

The official introduction to H.5090:

“TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 2-1-105 SO AS TO PROVIDE AFTER JULY 1, 2020, A PERSON MAY NOT BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED TO A JUDICIAL OFFICE THAT IS FILLED BY ELECTION OR APPOINTMENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IF THAT PERSON IS AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER OF A SITTING MEMBER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, OR A FORMER MEMBER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHOSE MOST RECENT TERM OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICE ENDED LESS THAN ONE YEAR PRIOR TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S ELECTION OR APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICE IN QUESTION.”

Randy Bright

Ridgeway