South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States and, during Civil War times, was the first to secede from the Union. SC’s progressive atmosphere attracts a wide range of people and personalities, diversifying not only the general population, but the business and cultural aspects as well. SC embodies a captivating blend of charm and hospitality that lives up to the historic reputation of the American South.
The judicial system in South Carolina is a diverse mix of trial and appellate courts:
The Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices who are elected to a term of ten years by the General Assembly.
The Court of Appeals, SC’s newest court, hears most types of appeals from the Circuit Court and the Family Court.
The Circuit Court has jurisdiction on all civil matters, which includes most personal injury claims.
The Municipal Court and Magistrate Court systems handle small claims, traffic violations, preliminary hearings, and misdemeanors.
The Family Court system handles domestic cases, juvenile offences and juvenile traffic violations.
Probate Court handles estate and mental health matters. The Circuit Court and Magistrate Court generally determine cases involving credit and collections.
The prosecutorial system is made up of the circuit solicitors and the Attorney General’s Office.
According to Census 2000, South Carolina’s population is more than four million people. Columbia, population 116,278, is the capital and largest city in the Palmetto State. As one of the nation’s first planned cities, Columbia serves as SC’s center of commerce, government and education, where outstanding higher learning facilities include the University of South Carolina and Columbia College. Fourteen Fortune 500 companies bolster the thriving local economy and Columbia is home to Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army’s largest training base.
With a population of 96,650, Charleston ranks as SC’s second largest city. This vibrant port city has a strong historic presence, evident in sites such as the Charleston Tea Plantation and the Old Exchange and Customs House, which once held several of the Declaration of Independence signers. The US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) is the largest employer in the Charleston area, while facilities such as Charleston Southern University, The Citadel and the College of Charleston, SC’s oldest university, meet the higher learning needs for the Palmetto State’s residents. Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head Island, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, and Sumter are also among SC’s largest urban areas.
South Carolina enjoys a thriving economy, where agriculture and manufacturing play significant roles. Characterized by pristine Atlantic Coast Beaches and the enchanting beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, SC also boasts a lucrative tourist industry. Counted among the nation’s most gorgeous beaches are Edisto Island, the Grand Strand, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and Seabrook Island. Residents and visitors have access to an impressive selection of golf courses and more than 80,000 acres of state parkland. Other popular destinations include Darlington Raceway, Hard Rock Park, Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina Aquarium, numerous museums and the many majestic lighthouses of SC.
South Carolina features natural splendor, culture, education, and recreational opportunities. Options for living in the Palmetto State range from cosmopolitan cities to serene coastal towns. The state’s balmy Atlantic Beaches and rugged Blue Ridge Mountain foothills provide a panorama of spectacular scenery.