- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Don Beatty is set to formally become South Carolina’s second black chief justice since Reconstruction.

Gov. Nikki Haley plans to attend Friday afternoon’s swearing in ceremony at the state Supreme Court.

Beatty replaced Costa Pleicones, who had to retire Dec. 31 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72. He was chief justice for just one year.

Beatty’s term will run until July 2024. He was the most senior justice behind Pleicones. Legislators first elected Beatty to the state’s high court in 2007.

Beatty served five years as a Democrat in the state House before legislators elected him to the circuit court bench in 1995.

He follows in the footsteps of Ernest Finney Jr., who in 1994 became the state’s first black chief justice since Reconstruction. Finney retired in 2000.

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