Posted in: Lawyers › None, Announcements
Everyone loves a good story, and there are countless tales from our state’s legal history.
The South Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society is geared up to research, preserve and showcase those rich stories for present and future generations.
“The Society’s goal is to make information accessible not only to historians researching the legal history of South Carolina, but also to members of the public who might otherwise have very little knowledge of our judicial branch,” says Robert M. Wilcox, president of the Society’s Board of Directors and professor of law at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Under Wilcox’s leadership, the Society recently completed a year-long review and reorganization of operations including new bylaws, a website, and a robust map for future activities.
The history of the Supreme Court has never been gathered in one location in a manner that is easily accessible to the public.
“There are documents in archives, photos in file cabinets, and knowledge that has never been preserved in written form,” Wilcox says. “To help change that, the Society will be sponsoring research to offer a better understanding of the Court’s rich history, as well as helping to preserve historical artifacts like photos which might otherwise be lost.”
This initiative includes the new website, www.scschistory.org, that begins to tell the story of our state’s judicial history. The Society also will build upon its existing program of capturing oral histories, with a special effort to ensure that many and different voices are saved.
The Society will host its annual meeting in April 2022 at the South Carolina Supreme Court, with current justices serving as honorary hosts. This event will feature a presentation and reception. Another educational event will follow in fall 2022.
Over the past 150 years, our state has experienced incredible moments that would interest any South Carolinian. Some examples include a governor declaring a state of rebellion during a dispute with the highway department, and a leading candidate for governor disqualified weeks before the election for failing to meet the qualifications to hold office. There was a time when two men both claimed to be governor and two bodies claimed to be the House of Representatives, Wilcox explained.
“In each of these cases, it was the Supreme Court that resolved the dispute and preserved the orderly function of government,” Wilcox says. “These as well as many other stories, some routine, some extraordinary, will capture the interest of many who may hear them for the first time.”
How to get involved
A key aspect of the Society is member involvement, and all SC Bar members are encouraged to join and engage in a variety of efforts designed to preserve and promote historical content. The Judiciary will be actively involved through the Society’s Board of Judicial Advisors.
Join by registering at www.scschistory.org or in conjunction with the South Carolina Bar’s annual license fee renewal. Follow the Society on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @scschistory.
Annual dues: $100 for attorneys and $75 for members of the judiciary. Fees for new members will cover all dues through June 2023. Existing members do not have to pay any additional dues until June 2023.
Supreme Court Historical Society Board of Directors
Officers are Robert Wilcox, president; Julie Moose, treasurer, and Lanneau “Lanny” Lambert, secretary. Board members are Luther Battiste, Mitch Brown, Blaire Cann, Emma Dean, Ernest “Chip” Finney, Larry Flynn, Roy Laney, La’Jessica Stringfellow, Brad Waring, Megan Seiner.
The Society also is thankful for the support and encouragement of South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty, Justice John Kittredge and all Supreme Court justices.
This story also appeared in the November 2021 edition of SC Lawyer magazine.