As Pennsylvania celebrates the elevation of Justice
Debra Todd as the first chief justice in the state Supreme Court’s 300 year
history, South Carolina’s only female Supreme Court Justice Kaye Hearn is retiring, reported NBC News.
State legislators are preparing to elect her successor—a move that will most
likely leave the court without a female justice for the first time in 35
The prospect troubles Hearn, who became the second
woman to serve on South Carolina’s top court after she was elected in
2009. She is the justice who wrote the majority opinion this month
down the state’s six-week abortion ban.
“I have always felt that it’s important for both
lawyers and litigants to look up on the bench and see someone that looks like
them,” Hearn said in a phone interview. “I do think it’s concerning.”
Her departure in the coming months — mandated
by South Carolina law now that she’s 72 — is occurring at a time when state
supreme courts across the country are playing pivotal roles in the fate of
abortion rights. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned
Roe v. Wade, dismantling the constitutional right to an abortion,
regulation of the procedure was sent back to the states. In the past
year, justices in Mississippi and Georgia have
been among those who have been asked to weigh whether laws widely banning or
restricting abortion in their states should stand.
Hearn declined to comment on the 3-2 decision in
South Carolina, which determined that the state’s six-week abortion ban was
unconstitutional because it violated the right to privacy.
Legislators will vote on Hearn’s replacement on Feb.
1. Two women, Court of Appeals Judges Stephanie McDonald and Aphrodite
Konduros, were initially in the running for Hearn’s seat but withdrew Tuesday.
Their departures left state appeals Judge Gary Hill as the only candidate
To read more CLICK HERE