Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. He attended public schools in Spartanburg County and is a graduate of South Carolina State University. After his active duty military service as a commissioned officer, Chief Justice Beatty continued his education and earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law, Columbia, South Carolina.
Admitted to the practice of law in South Carolina in 1979, Chief Justice Beatty began his legal career by working for the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program, thus fulfilling a personal commitment to use his legal training to benefit those who could not afford paid legal representation. Following his tenure with the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program, he established a private practice in his home town, Spartanburg, South Carolina. During this time, Chief Justice Beatty maintained a commitment to public service with his election to Spartanburg City Council, later moving to the state level with his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives. His dedication to his community led to his service on the Piedmont Legal Services Board of Directors, Spartanburg Residential Development Corporation, Southside Neighborhoods Association Partnership, Boys and Girls Club, BB&T Advisory Board, BMW minority Advisory Board/BMW Construction Project, the Commission On Continuing Legal Education, Access To Justice Commission, the Sentencing Reform Commission. His list of current memberships include; elected member of the American Law Institute, Conference of Chief Justices Board of Directors, National Advisory Board for the Bryson Judicial Science Education Center, National Courts and Sciences Institute Board of Directors, and many community organizations intent on uplifting his community.
Chief Justice Beatty remains dedicated to his community, and as time permits, he adds to his busy schedule by appearing at various schools or speaking to youth groups, encouraging moral values and promoting scholarship and leadership.
Chief Justice Beatty has received numerous awards for community service and leadership; among them are, the Profile in Leadership Award, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Living Legend Award, Superior Achievement Award from the Donald James Sampson Chapter of the National Bar Association, the Vision Award from the South Carolina Business Network, The Spartanburg County Bar Portrait Award, The American Association of Justice Portrait Award and the Harvey Gantt Triumph Award.
During his tenure in the South Carolina General Assembly, he served as a member of The House of Representatives Ethics Committee, the Medical, Military, and Municipal affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee. In addition, he served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman-elect of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
In 1995, after five years of distinguished service in the South Carolina General Assembly, he was elected to the Circuit Court where he served as a trial judge until he was elevated to the Court of Appeals in 2003. In 2007, Chief Justice Beatty was elected as an Associate Justice for the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Beatty has reached the highest attainable position within the State of South Carolina's Judicial Branch, Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. In May 2016, Justice Beatty was elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. He began serving as Chief Justice of South Carolina on January 1, 2017.
Prior to his ascension to the position of Chief Justice of South Carolina, he was honored to be nominated for a federal judgeship by the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, but made the mindful decision to serve as South Carolina's Chief Justice. A position that he viewed as more impactful for the citizens of South Carolina.
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