By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A panel is considering the qualifications of two South Carolina jurists vying to lead the state's top court.
The Judicial Merit Selection Commission on Tuesday holds a hearing over applications from Chief Justice Jean Toal and Associate Supreme Court Justice Costa Pleicones (pluh-KOH'-nus).
Toal's current term expires next year. Pleicones surprised the state's legal community earlier this year when he said he opted to challenge her re-election bid.
Pleicones has told The Associated Press he felt his decades of judicial experience qualified him for the post.
South Carolina has a mandatory judicial retirement age of 72. Toal turned 70 this year. Pleicones is 69.
The 10-member commission determines if candidates are qualified for the judicial posts they seek. South Carolina lawmakers later vote to select the state's judges.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.