The Higher Education of South Carolina’s New Black Supreme Court Justice

In late May, Donald Beatty became the third African American in state history to sit on the Supreme Court of South Carolina. He was elected on the third ballot in a vote by South Carolina state legislators. Beatty, now 55 years old, will be the first black justice on the court since the retirement of Ernest Finney Jr. in 2000. Finney served on the court for 15 years. The only other black member of the South Carolina Supreme Court was Jonathan Jasper Wright, who served during the Reconstruction era.

Donald Beatty is a 1974 graduate of South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg. He earned his law degree at the University of South Carolina. Beatty has served on the South Carolina Court of Appeals since 2003. Previously, he was a circuit judge and a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.