House OKs renaming Charleston courthouse for judge who ushered in desegregation ruling

Charleston’s Federal Courthouse annex on Meeting Street, just south of Broad Street, is a step closer toward being renamed in honor of the late U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring.

The effort to rename Charleston’s federal courthouse in honor of the late U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring has moved a step closer.

The House of Representatives voted Monday to approve a bill designating the 83 Meeting St. building as the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center. It had been named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, who recently asked for the name change.

U.S. Rep. and Assistant House Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn entered a statement into the record paying tribute to both Hollings and Waring, whose judicial rulings helped bring about the end of the Jim Crow era in South Carolina.

Beginning in 1944, Waring’s rulings ordered equal pay for teachers, regardless of race; struck down South Carolina’s all-white Democratic primary; and found that “separate but equal” schools were unconstitutional. Waring’s latter ruling was a dissenting opinion in a three-judge case, but it formed the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s famous Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which struck down racial segregation in all the nation’s public schools.

“Thankfully, history has given Judge Waring the favorable recognition denied to him during his life, and passage of his bill will rightfully add to this acclaim,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn noted that Hollings helped secure funding to build the annex to the courthouse in the 1980s, and Clyburn said Hollings’ support of the name change is a “selfless act of statesmanship” and “just the most recent example of Fritz’s visionary leadership.”

The U.S. Senate still must agree to the name change before it takes effect.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.