SC Supreme Court: magistrates must be able to tell time and read




Here’s a test they could take…


Or you could, you know, require all judges to be lawyers.


Wait, WHAT? Judges in the US are not required to have a degree in law? :open_mouth:


To be fair, South Carolina also forces prospective judges to take a much more rigorous and strongly enforced maximum aptitude test.


I so lost in the spiral of snark and meta-snark that I don’t know if I’m supposed to be amused at the low bar, or outraged that they discriminate.


So this should not be interpreted as a suggestion that, say, just being able to make change for a dollar would cut it if you wanted to be a magistrate judge in South Carolina. You would probably need to be able to make change for bills of several different denominations, at a minimum.

Oh OK, I was beginning to think this qualification lacked rigour.


Why did my high school counselor say I should go to college? I could’ve skipped junior high and high school completely, moved to SC and become a magistrate. FFS. I got rooked.


Probably because he got screwed over after going to college. He was counselling you, right? Some people are bitter and just want to pass it down the line, so yeah, go to college. That’s it.



Are we certain that all the S.C. judges have passed those requirements? Recently?


Magistrates are not actually the same thing as Judges.

Still, it’s appalling that South Carolina had to spell out the minimum requirements at such a granular level.


Precisely This.

But hey … looking on the bright side, perhaps South Carolina will now be forced into reversing whatever gutting has been performed on state funded primary education.

What am I saying? If they (like my state of residence) have charter schools to compliment a much tonier array of private schools, I’m sure that they’ll be able to crank out more than enough Republicon Youth to magistrate us back to the early 19th century.

SCIENCE !? What form of Demonic Wizardry be this???”


These are magistrates. Their rulings are typically appeal-able without having to make a showing that they ruled badly. It’s a way of lessening the burden on the court system. They tend to take care of very grunt-work level stuff, like marrying people in civil ceremonies.


Lawyers don’t have to have degrees in law either. Today essentially all do, but that wasn’t always true, and technically you can still become a lawyer by “reading law,” essentially apprenticeship.


Holy shit, that’s insane! :open_mouth:


Given the importance of the law you’d think they’d set the bar a little higher.

I’ll be here all week! Please tip your waiter!


I suppose having low minimum requirements could lead to magistrates being appointed from a wider range of backgrounds, which would be a good thing no?


It depends on the state, but in some jurisdictions magistrate judges can set bail, issue search and arrest warrants, decide small-claims cases, and order evictions. That may be “grunt-level” work, but it is still subject to abuse and cause a lot of harm if done incompetently.


This is incorrect. It’s true that before the advent of law schools in the nineteenth century, the only way to learn law was by apprenticeship, but these days you have to have a J.D. or equivalent, usually from an accredited law school, before you take the bar exam in the United States.