Beatty’s federal nomination could affect SC high court race

In this May 2007 file photo, Judge Don Beatty gestures after he was elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Barack Obama is nominating a South Carolina Supreme Court justice to be a federal judge.

The nomination Thursday of Don Beatty of Spartanburg could shake up two races for South Carolina’s highest court.

The state Judicial Merit Screening Commission is currently accepting applications for races to be chief justice and an associate justice on the South Carolina Supreme Court next year.

Beatty would be the longest serving Supreme Court justice and by custom lawmakers would vote him chief justice. But a number of legislators have quietly opposed Beatty.

Applications for the judicial seats are being taken through March 7.

Beatty would replace retiring U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie.

Obama also is nominating Spartanburg attorney Donald Coggins Jr. to replace retiring federal Judge Joe Anderson.