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State of South Carolina

Methods of Judicial Selection: South Carolina

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 5
Court of Appeals: 9
Circuit Court: 46
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
Court of Appeals: --
Circuit Court: 16
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
Court of Appeals: statewide
Circuit Court: circuit & at-large
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: legislative election
Court of Appeals: legislative election
Circuit Court: legislative election
Length of Term
Supreme Court: 10 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
Circuit Court: 6 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: legislative reelection
Court of Appeals: legislative reelection
Circuit Court: legislative reelection
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 10 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
Circuit Court: 6 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: legislative election*
Court of Appeals: legislative election*
Circuit Court: legislative election*
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: upon completion of unexpired term
Court of Appeals: upon completion of unexpired term
Circuit Court: upon completion of unexpired term
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: legislative election
Court of Appeals: legislative election
Circuit Court: designation by chief justice of the supreme court
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 10 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
Circuit Court: 6 months
Qualifications
Supreme Court: U.S. citizen; 32-72 yrs of age; state resident 5 yrs; licensed attorney 8 yrs
Court of Appeals: U.S. citizen; 32-72 yrs old; state resident 5 yrs; licensed attorney 8 yrs
Circuit Court: U.S. citizen; 32-72 yrs of age; state resident 5 yrs; licensed attorney 8 yrs

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article V of the South Carolina Constitution.

*If the length of the unexpired term is less than one year, the governor may fill the vacancy.