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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

Law school hosts federal civil court hearing courtesy of Federal District Court Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. ‘75

Wednesday morning, the USC Joseph F. Rice School of Law hosted a federal court hearing regarding a potential presidential candidate vying for a spot on the SC Democratic party’s presidential primary ballot. Presiding Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. ‘75, who also teaches Federal Courts, was integral in bringing the hearing to the Karen J. Williams courtroom on campus.  

“When I was a student here, most of us went the entire three years of law school without setting foot in a courthouse or seeing an actual court proceeding,” Judge Anderson says. “As a judge, I have tried to rectify that by periodically bringing cases to the law school for argument or trials. I try to select cases with interesting issues and good lawyers on both sides.” 

Wednesday’s hearing, which many students attended, is one example of the types of cases he has brought to the law school over the years. 

“I was grateful to be able to witness such skilled lawyering,” says 2L Devyn Fischer. “It was obvious that all of the attorneys who presented arguments were skilled litigators. I especially recall Judge Anderson's professional composure throughout the hearing – he was very respectful and attentive, even when he pushed back on attorneys' arguments.”  

The hearing centered on Cenk Uyger, a Turkey-born naturalized U.S. citizen, who requested a court order to be placed on the South Carolina Democratic Party ballot after being rejected late last year. His lawyers argued that the 14th Amendment effectively repealed the constitutional requirement permitting only natural-born citizens to become president.  

Richard Hricik, attorney for the SC Democratic Party and one of five Defendants named in the suit, argued that a presidential preference primary is pursuant to its own rules and political parties have the right to exclude candidates for any reason, barring protected classes like race and gender. In this instance, Hricik claims the SC Democratic Party denied Uyger’s request to be placed on the ballot because they did not believe he was a qualified candidate since he did not provide the requisite information to be placed on the ballot. 

Attorneys’ arguments centered on the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and referenced several cases including Brown v. Board of Education, Hassan v. Colorado, Trump v. Anderson, Purcell v. Gonzales, and De la Fuente v. Simon. 

In addition to Hricik, lawyers from each of the Defendants named in the suit were in attendance: the State of South Carolina’s Governor's Office, the South Carolina Election Commission, the South Carolina Democratic Party, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the South Carolina Secretary of State. 

Judge Anderson denied the injunction verbally but reserved the right to provide a written decision, allowing students to hear the result before leaving for their next class. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.