SC chief justice facing challenge for top spot

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A longtime colleague is challenging Chief Justice Jean Toal for the state Supreme Court's top spot.

Associate Justice Costa Pleicones' (pluh-KOH-nus) decision to run against Toal has surprised legal watchers and the legislators who will vote on the contest.

South Carolina lawmakers select the state's judges. This month, some of them received letters from both Toal and Pleicones announcing candidacy for the court's top slot.

Toal is a former lawmaker who was elected to the Supreme Court in 1988 and has been chief justice since 2000. She is the first woman on the state's high court.

Pleicones was elected to the Supreme Court in 2000. He previously served as a circuit judge.

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