U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, currently under consideration for a federal appellate court seat, reportedly is on the shortlist of candidates to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court following news this week that Justice Stephen Breyer would retire. Powerful U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is hoping for her nomination and confirmation.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced he would nominate the first Black woman to the high court, keeping a promise made in February 2020 just before the S.C. presidential primary.  The next day, Biden earned Clyburn’s key endorsement and then swept the state, eventually going on to the presidency.

During a Thursday press conference, Clyburn said he pushed Childs’ elevation from the South Carolina federal bench to a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. shortly after the 2020 election because he thought she was “Supreme Court material.” The congressman said he had not spoken to Biden about Childs as a potential pick for the Supreme Court.

Childs is among three judges reported Thursday to be on the president’s radar, according to The New York Times. The others: U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on the D.C. circuit, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

In other recent news:

McMaster signs final congressional redistricting plans into law.  Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday signed into law a new congressional redistricting plan based on the 2020 census. While it isn’t drastically different from the previous map, it increases potential Republican strength in the coastal First District.  The law is expected to draw a court challenge.  

Senate to continue debate on medical marijuana proposal. S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, on Thursday  fended off opponents of his medical marijuana bill during the second day of debate over the legislation.  More debate is scheduled for next week on the measure, which Davis says will not lead to the “slippery slope” of legalizing marijuana broadly.

Spearman lobbies for big pay boost for teachers. State Superintendent Molly Spearman urged lawmakers to give public school teachers substantial pay raises in the coming fiscal year. She also said that no teacher should start at less than $40,000 per year.  Meanwhile, a House proposal calls for teachers-in-training to get a $7,500 bonus after they graduate.

S.C. bill seeks to criminalize vax status requests. House Bill 4848, which would make it a crime to ask about someone’s COVID-19 vaccination status, is sponsored by six GOP lawmakers, including S.C. Rep. Sandy McGarry, R-Lancaster, who has experience working in the medical field.

S.C. Senate votes to end state control of hospital expansions. South Carolina hospitals will no longer need state permission to build new facilities, expand or purchase equipment after state senators voted to get rid of the requirement Jan. 25.  The measure would end a 51-year requirement.

S.C. lawmakers vow to address critical race theory. S.C. House Education and Public Works Committee members promised Wednesday to take their time crafting new rules for public school K-12 teachers in the wake of the culture war backlash surrounding college-level discussions on how race and the nation’s founding as a slave colony impacts daily lives, known as critical race theory.

Momentum grows for legislature to pass hands-free driving bill. The proposed Hands-Free Act would levy penalties for drivers using their phones in their hands while on the road.

This story was originally posted to Statehouse Report.

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