Palmetto Sunrise: Legislature picks a new state Supreme Court justice

Gavin Jackson/Staff Gov. Nikki Haley congratulates Costa Pleicones after swearing him in as S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice on Jan. 7, 2016. The General Assembly will fill the vacancy of former Chief Justice Jean Toal, who retired in December.

COLUMBIA – State legislators will select a new state Supreme Court justice today and fill other open positions on the state Appeals Court, Circuit Court and Family Court.

Administrative Law Court Judge Ralph King Anderson III, Court of Appeals Chief Judge John C. Few and Court of Appeals Judge H. Bruce Williams are the finalists to replace former Chief Justice Jean Toal, who retired in December.

A joint session of the General Assembly meets at noon to vote on her replacement.

As Maya T. Prabhu reported Monday, lawmakers will repeat the process next year after the retirement of new Chief Justice Costa Pleicones at the end of 2016.

The three Supreme Court finalists are among 43 judges vying for positions on various courts, including Appeals Court, Circuit Court and Family Court. The Supreme Court and the at-large Circuit Court seats are the only ones that are competitive.

Statehouse focus

The House reconvenes at 10 a.m. and the Senate returns at 11:45 a.m. Their joint session begins at noon.

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee will discuss alcohol regulations at 9 a.m.; the Senate Transportation Committee will get an update on state roads at 11 a.m.; a House healthcare subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee will discuss the Department of Social Services an hour after the House adjourns and the Commission on Higher Education meets 90 minutes after the House adjourns.

2016 watch

Former President Bill Clinton will rally for his wife, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, at Allen University in Columbia. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. The public can RSVP here.

Bill Clinton will also meet behind closed doors with Democratic state lawmakers before the event.

Rick Santorum kicks off his aggressive 46-county tour of the state today, but will need to revisit Cherokee County since cancelling his town hall at Limestone College. Santorum will visit Sandey’s at the White House in York at 7:45 a.m.; the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg at 11:30 a.m.; hold a town hall at Erskine College in Due West at 2 p.m.; and end the day with voters at Newberry Hall in Aiken at 5:30 p.m.

As many South Carolina politicians make their 2016 endorsements public, Gov. Nikki Haley remains tight-lipped on who she’d like to see win the 2016 presidency. So here’s a flashback to 2012 when she campaigned with Mitt Romney.

Today’s headlines:

Sen. Ted Cruz rallies the Upstate after big Iowa win (The Post and Courier)

Iowa results may be wake-up call for Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders in S.C. (The Post and Courier)

House panel advances ‘stand your ground’ bill (The Post and Courier)

SC House backs picking Lt Gov for ticket after nomination (The Herald)

Senate committee moves another ethics bill to consideration for floor debate (The Post and Courier)

37 state agency directors receiving combined raises of $215K (The Post and Courier)

Rubio campaign dispatches its army and new lines of attack (The New York Times)

SC voters today older, more diverse than in 2008 (The Herald)

How Clinton plans to bounce back in New Hampshire (POLITICO)

South Carolina superdelegate sticks with O’Malley, keeping options open (The Charlotte Observer)

Trump shifts expectations in NH (The Hill)

Hopkins representative endorses Bernie Sanders for president (The Post and Courier)

Two South Carolina state agencies partner on employment program (South Carolina Radio Network)

Senators likely to debate roads bill in 2 weeks (The State)