Editorial: Eliminate SC lawyer-legislators’ outsized role in selecting our judges | Editorials

You might have already heard about the one time the role of lawyer-legislators was addressed directly during Wednesday’s extraordinary S.C. Supreme Court hearing over the secret judicial order that had released convicted murderer Jeroid Price from prison 16 years early.

Associate Justice George James asked Attorney General Alan Wilson if the fact that Mr. Price’s defense attorney is a lawyer-legislator was “relevant to any legal or procedural defects that you have argued … because it seems to me that that has been a driving factor in forums other than the one here today.”

SC killer freed 16 years early on secret order heading back to prison, Supreme Court rules

When Mr. Wilson said it was not but noted that “the secrecy of this whole thing makes people look at this with great skepticism,” the justice continued: “But the lawyer-legislator angle you agree is wholly irrelevant?”

“In this court,” Mr. Wilson responded quite deliberately, “it’s all about the law.”

“All about the law,” Justice George repeated. “Just want to be clear on that.”

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But less than 10 minutes later, House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford demonstrated the subtle way he and other attorneys can remind judges that they are members of the body that determines who is and isn’t a judge.

When Associate Justice John Few quizzed Mr. Rutherford on his argument that a state law that requires murderers to serve at least 30 years in prison was trumped by the law Circuit Judge Casey Manning used to slash Mr. Price’s sentence by nearly half, Rep. Rutherford referred repeatedly to why “we” wrote the law one way instead of another.

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In a display that we’d love to be able to believe would occur in a lower-profile hearing that wasn’t livestreamed, Justice Few interrupted to say: “You’re not ‘we’ here; you’re ‘they.’” After a split second, he smiled, and Mr. Rutherford immediately apologized. But even his

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