John Kittredge selected as S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice

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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

The South Carolina General Assembly elected John Kittredge to be the next Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

S.C. House Speaker Murrell Smith promised to promote true conservatives to the state’s highest court and now he has delivered.

Kittredge succeeds Don Beatty, who is retiring this summer at the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Smith also put together a Judicial Reform Committee which has brought forth a proposal to fundamentally change the Judicial Merit Selection Committee. This is the group of legislators that screen judges for appointments. We covered the reform committee’s recommendations on February 28, 2024.

Clay Hopkins
633,000 voters say SC must have judicial reform

In the February 24th S.C. Republican Presidential Primary, 91.7% of Republicans stated they wanted the JMSC reformed.

The reform committee proposal was criticized by House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a long standing member of the JMSC.

What they’re trying to do is take something they think is wrong, even though they have never attended a JMSC meeting, never been in the room, don’t know anything about it, but they’re making me out to be the boogeyman,” said Rutherford, a lawyer himself. We are here to do the people’s work. We are here to elect good judges, and we have elected good judges.

Rutherford is a lawyer-legislator who sits on the JMSC. The JMSC is a screening committee also called the Judicial Merit Selection Committee.

Several proposals for judicial reform have been put forth and House Representative Micah Caskey said he would be happy to work through them. Caskey is another lawyer-legislator who also sits on the JMSC. “I’m fortunate enough to have this seat today, but if I don’t tomorrow, that’s okay as well. As long as it’s in the best interest of South Carolina, we’ll move on.

It is S.C. Senator Dick Harpootlian’s belief that some version of judicial reform will be passed by the Senate next week.

Kittredge already sat on the S.C. Supreme Court, but was not its Chief Justice. Rutherford noted that the JMSC will begin screening candidates for the John Kittredge judgeship vacancy in the spring.

The John Kittredge selection moves the S.C. Supreme Court to the right, in line with most S.C. residents.

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