Structure of the Courts
July 19, 2011
The South Carolina judiciary system consists of the supreme court, court of appeals, and the circuit court. Other trial courts consists of family, equity, municipal courts, magistrate, and probate courts which are of limited jurisdiction. South Carolina's legislature is responsible for selecting judges and is only one of two states that does this. South Carolinas circuit court consists of the court of common pleas that is a civil division. In circuit court the judge hears cases involving regulatory and administration agencies. It has limited appellate jurisdiction over the lower probate courts appeals. The court of appeals hears cases from the family courts and circuit courts that does not fall under the seven cases in which the South Carolina Supreme Court uses exclusive jurisdiction. This includes the death penalty, public bond issues, elections laws, public utility rates, family court issues relating to abortion, and other significant constitutional issues.
The highest federal court in South Carolina is the supreme court. The Supreme Court is made up of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices. Each is elected by the General Assembly for ten year terms. Supreme court has original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. Appellate has the authority to hear appeals from circuit court. This can include a death sentence; a public utility rate set by a circuit court; judgment that involves public indebtedness which is bonded, etc. The South Carolina Supreme Court has the responsibility of forming rules governing all courts of the state. The rules governing the administration of these courts and rules governing the practice and procedure of the courts. The Supreme Court is also responsible for judges and lawyers who commit misconduct in office.