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Supreme Court of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina

Justices and Attorneys Commemorate Completion of Supreme Court Beautification Project

September 14, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Supreme Court Justices and Bar representatives gathered outside yesterday behind the Court to commemorate the transformation of its parking area.  The multiyear Supreme Court Beautification Project has visually enhanced the area, lessened its impact on the environment, and provided a safer exterior parking area.

The project was a joint effort of the Judicial Branch, the Richland County Bar Association, and the South Carolina Bar. To raise funds for the project, the South Carolina Bar worked with county bar associations to establish an anonymous donation process.

South Carolina Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty recalled initial conversations at the beginning of the project with then-Richland County Bar President Jack McKenzie.

“Jack came to talk to me about revitalizing our parking lot, which was the farthest thing from my mind relative to other priorities,” Chief Justice Beatty said. “But he told me that the building here represents the highest court in our state, and the parking lot detracted from it. He said it should be representative of the status of this building and what we do here. And he was right. To the Richland County Bar and the lawyers across this state who’ve contributed to the success of this project, I want to thank you. The Court wants to thank you.”

Walter H. Cartin, president of the Richland County Bar Association, said the involvement of attorneys in the Court’s parking lot may seem unusual, but is in reality an investment in the downtown Columbia landscape and the legal profession.

“You’ll have considerable difficulty finding public works projects that are pleasing to the eye, functional, and sustainable,” Cartin said. “But this one is an investment in beautification, in sustaining the environment, and in the safety of the justices and court employees.”  

New features in the Court’s parking area include a wall along the Sumter Street side, additional lighting, and permeable concrete pavers designed to last 50 years. The project helped improve stormwater management by reducing the amount of water shed from the parking lot, eliminating the pooling of stormwater, and preventing water from flooding the Supreme Court building basement. The planting of shade trees and removal of the previous asphalt surface eliminated the previous “heat island” effect of the lot.

According to the South Carolina Bar, nearly 1,500 attorneys and individuals, from geographic locations all around the state and firms of all sizes, gave anonymous donations. Hagood Tighe, president of the South Carolina Bar, said he found the anonymous aspect of the donations most impressive.

“The people who contributed didn’t give money to curry favor with these justices, because the justices don’t know who donated,” Tighe said. “They did it because it’s the right thing to do, and I think that’s an important statement about what lawyers do for their communities. They do it for the right reasons.”

Left to right: Justice Kaye G. Hearn, Justice John W. Kittredge, former Chief Justice Jean H. Toal, Justice George C. James, Jr., Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty, Justice John C. Few, Richland County Bar Association President Walter H. Cartin, South Carolina Bar President Hagood Tighe, and former Richland County Bar Association President Jack McKenzie.

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