Brother of suspended House Speaker Harrell quits panel that screens judicial candidates

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The brother of suspended House Speaker Bobby Harrell has quit a panel that screens judicial candidates before recommending finalists to state lawmakers.

Charleston attorney John Harrell and Greenville attorney Don Sellers have stepped down from the 10-member Judicial Merit Selection Commission, The State newspaper reports ( ).

The Legislature elects judges from a slate of candidates picked by the panel. Both John Harrell and Sellers were appointed by Speaker Bobby Harrell in 2007.

In their place, acting House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, said he appointed Robert Wilcox, dean of the University of South Carolina law school, and Susan Taylor Wall, a McNair law firm partner in Charleston.

Last month, Bobby Harrell was indicted on campaign-finance charges. In a series of ethics complaints, the South Carolina Policy Council — a libertarian leaning, pro-limited-government think tank — said the powerful Charleston Republican should not have appointed his brother to the commission.

Harrell has stepped down as speaker but maintains that he did nothing wrong.

The Judicial Merit Selection Commission is scheduled to meet Nov. 5-7 to review candidates for 33 judicial seats.

Information from: The State,

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