Beatty could be 2nd black chief justice since Reconstruction

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The state Supreme Court’s senior associate justice is the only person running for the court’s top job.

A statement Monday from the Judicial Merit Selection Commission shows Don Beatty of Spartanburg is the only person running for chief justice. Republicans had sought another candidate.

Beatty would become South Carolina’s second black chief justice since Reconstruction. However, President Barack Obama nominated Beatty last month to be a federal judge.

State lawmakers will elect a new chief justice in May to replace Costa Pleicones (Pluh-KOH- nus). He must retire Dec. 31 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Beatty has been on the state’s high court since 2007.

Legislators first elected Beatty a circuit court judge in 1995, after he served five years in the state House as a Democrat.

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