So Scandalous November 12, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
CAN’T WE JUST DO AWAY WITH THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
FITSNews – November 12, 2007 – It’s been quite a year for the S.C. Judiciary, that red-headed stepchild of the whole “separate but equal” system of democratic government. First it was the Beattygate scandal, in which state legislators are alleged to have improperly traded votes in order to elect Democrat Don Beatty to the S.C. Supreme Court. Now it’s the robes themselves – particularly Chief Justice Jean Toal – under scrutiny in the wake of a controversial bar exam grading scandal, one which we have yet to come up with a sufficiently creative “-gate” name to describe.
Toal-gate, perhaps? Maybe with this picture? Who knows …
Anyway, other than the fact both scandals were broken right here on FITSNews, what else do they have in common?
Judging from the information we’ve been able to uncover, one shared link is the office of Diane Goodstein, the Lowcountry circuit court judge who – as a result of Beattygate – is in line to become the next member of the S.C. Supremes.
That Goodstein is the prime beneficiary of Beattygate’s extensive maneuverings is difficult to dispute given the thousands of dollars in campaign contributions flowing from her husband, former legislator Arnold Goodstein, into the accounts of several elected officials. Not to mention the direct employment of Judge Goodstein’s chief legislative advocate, State Rep. Annette Young (and her son), by the Judge’s husband. But Diane Goodstein’s name is popping up in our mailbox in connection with this latest scandal, too.
Specifically it’s Goodstein’s law clerk, Kendall Burch, who finds herself on the spot after the following e-mail began making the rounds in the wake of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to throw out an entire section of the 2007 bar exam:
From: Goodstein, Diane S. Law Clerk (Kendall Burch)
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:57 PM
To: Nicholson, J. C. Law Clerk (Samantha Adair); Macauley, Alexander S. Law Clerk (Mary Williams); Russo, Thomas A. Law Clerk (Jesse Cartrette); Cothran, Ralph F. Jr., Law Clerk (Anne Hanley)
Subject: Bar Exam
First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score. My Dad and Catherine Harrison’s dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it. So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are Me, <>. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it.
The Honorable Diane S. Goodstein
Post Office Box 234
St. George, South Carolina 29477
Ms. Burch, whose father Paul Michael Burch is also a circuit court judge, ended up passing the bar after the Court decided to throw out the scores from the disputed section, but her e-mail certainly appears to violate the rule that applicants “shall not, either directly or through an agent, contact any member or associate member of the Board of Law Examiners or any member of the Supreme Court regarding the questions on any section of the bar examination, grading procedures or an applicant’s answers.”
That Burch’s e-mail was sent in an official capacity from Goodstein’s office, specifically invoking the Judge’s name and enlisting the assistance of four additional law clerks for circuit court judges, is even more troubling.
Whether or not Goodstein herself was involved in pressuring the Supreme Court to throw out the disputed section is unclear, but count on FITSNews to continue investigating every lead in this ongoing saga …