Arguments at the South Carolina Supreme Court this morning regarding Columbia?s District 2 election went as expected, but there was a surprise from the chief justice.
Half an hour before the arguments were to begin, Chief Justice Jean Toal handed out the legislative history of one of the state laws in question ? a history that seemed to suggest local governments were required to provide a 60-day notice of elections, including elections for vacancies created by resignation.
?I am deeply troubled by material I pointed out to y?all,? Toal told attorney Kevin Hall, who represents Durham Carter, president of the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association.
Former District 2 City Councilman E.W. Cromartie resigned March 9. City Council on March 10 scheduled an election April 6 to replace him. Paul Denman, a retired banker and District 2 resident, sued the city, saying the April 6 election violated state laws because the city did not have time to notify the public at least 60 days in advance.
Circuit Court Judge James Barber agreed with Denman and rescheduled the election for June 15. Carter appealed to the state Supreme Court, arguing that any election after April 6 would deny him representation.