- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Five judges and two attorneys in private firms are seeking one seat on the state Supreme Court.

The Judicial Merit Selection Commission announced the seven candidates Monday. They are running to fill the vacancy created when Chief Justice Costa Pleicones retires Dec. 31.

The five judges are Administrative Law Court Chief Judge Ralph “Tripp” Anderson III of Columbia, and Circuit Court judges Diane Goodstein of Summerville, George James Jr. of Sumter, former state Rep. Keith Kelly of Moore, and Carmen Mullen of Hilton Head.

The attorneys are John Nichols and Matthew Richardson, both of Columbia.

Hearings will start Nov. 14.

Pleicones must retire after just a year as top judge because the mandatory retirement age is 72.

In May, legislators elected Justice Don Beatty to replace Pleicones as chief justice.

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