U.S. Supreme Court

General Information About the Court

The U.S. Supreme Court serves as the apex court in South Carolina. It comprises a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices, each elected by the General Assembly to ten-year terms. These terms are staggered, allowing for the possibility of justices being reelected to multiple terms.

Appellate & Original Jurisdiction

The U.S. Supreme Court of South Carolina exercises both appellate and original jurisdiction.

In its appellate role, it holds exclusive authority to hear appeals from the circuit court in specific cases, including those involving death sentences, public utility rate determinations, constitutional challenges to state statutes or local ordinances, judgments on public bonded indebtedness, election-related matters, limitations on State Grand Jury investigations, and family court orders concerning minor abortions.

Additionally, upon its own initiative or by request from a party or the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court may transfer an appeal from the Court of Appeals for its decision. When reviewing appeals, the Supreme Court examines transcripts from lower court proceedings, relevant documents, exhibits, parties’ briefs, and oral arguments.

Parties dissatisfied with Court of Appeals decisions may petition the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which, if granted, permits the Supreme Court to affirm, reverse, or modify the Court of Appeals’ ruling.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court reviews judgments from circuit and family courts regarding post-conviction relief actions via writ of certiorari. In its original jurisdiction, the Supreme Court may initiate actions and issue extraordinary writs like mandamus and certiorari, usually in cases of significant public interest or unique circumstances.

Lastly, the Supreme Court may respond to certified questions of law from the highest court of another state or a federal court.

Rule Making & Administration of the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court is tasked with establishing rules that regulate the operation of all courts in the state. These rules encompass not only procedures and practices within the courts but also their administrative functions.

Moreover, the Court formulates rules concerning the admission to practice law and the conduct of lawyers, judges, and court staff. Additionally, as the administrative leader of the Judicial Branch, the Chief Justice oversees court administration, sets court terms, and assigns judges to preside over those terms.

Bar Admissions & Discipline of Lawyers and Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court of South Carolina oversees the admission of individuals to practice law within the state. It also holds authority over disciplining lawyers and judges found guilty of ethical violations.

Furthermore, the Court has the power to suspend lawyers or judges who are incapacitated due to mental or physical health issues.


  • Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty
  • Justice John W. Kittredge
  • Justice John Cannon Few
  • Justice George C. James, Jr.
  • Justice D. Garrison Hill

Location & Contact Information

Supreme Court
1231 Gervais St
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: 803-734-1080