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Beatty expected to become state's 2nd black chief justice

(Source: South Carolina Supreme Court) (Source: South Carolina Supreme Court)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Legislators are expected to elect South Carolina's second black chief justice since Reconstruction.

Don Beatty is the only person running to be the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

State lawmakers on Wednesday will elect the replacement for Costa Pleicones (pluh-KOH'- nus), who must retire Dec. 31 because he's reached the state's mandatory retirement age of 72.

Beatty is currently senior associate justice. He's been on the state's high court since 2007.

Some Republicans had sought another candidate for chief justice. They criticized two of Beatty's opinions as "judicial overreach." But no one else turned in an application.

In 1994, Ernest Finney Jr. became South Carolina's first black chief justice since Reconstruction. He retired in 2000.

Pleicones will retire after being chief justice just one year.

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