What do these two women have in common? Besides that …

Posted by Cindi Ross Scoppe on April 2, 2014 

State of The State

Besides being the only two powerful women in S.C. govenrment - ever - do you know what else Gov. Nikki Haley and Chief Justice Jean Toal have in common? Yep: Tom Ervin.

MARY ANN CHASTAIN — AP

With his decision to take on Gov. Nikki Haley in the GOP primary, former Circuit Judge Tom Ervin joined a very short list. No, not the list of men who have tried to take out high-powered women in South Carolina’s government. Which, of course, would have to be a very short list, since there have only been two such women. Ever.

But no, Mr. Ervin was already on that list, along with Associate Justice Costa Pleicones and Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

Instead, Mr. Ervin joined — indeed, formed — an even more elite group: men who have tried to take out both high-powered women in South Carolina’s government.

Chief Justice Jean Toal easily pushed back a challenge from then-Judge Ervin 18 years ago, in what looked very much to me like an effort by newly empowered House Republicans to test the limits of their power. (Those limits very quickly became very apparent — particularly after it became clear that despite having served in the House as a Democrat, the Chief Justice was at least as conservative as they were — and Mr. Ervin’s patrons very quickly abandoned him.) And the CJ held off Justice Pleicones earlier this year to get to keep her job until mandatory retirement.

The verdict’s still out on whether Sen. Sheheen can do a better job unseating Her Excellency than he did keeping her out of office to begin with, but it’s probably a safe bet that Mr. Ervin will be no more successful as a slayer of female governors than he was as a slayer of female chief justices.

And no, I am not suggesting that Mr. Erwin is a misogynist, or even a chauvinist. I’m simply suggesting that if you’re designing a trivia game about South Carolina government, this would make a good question.

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