Judge Whaley was born in Charleston on October 10, 1885, the son of James Swinton Whaley and Sarah Annie Seabrook Whaley. He was educated in the public schools of Charleston, spent his freshman year at South Carolina College, and then entered the University of the South (Sewanee) where he was Editor of the school newspaper, a member of the debating team, and the annual staff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1907, as the salutatorian and delivered his statutory address in Latin. He went on graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1909.
He practiced law in Columbia for ten years. In 1917, he was elected the first Judge of the Richland County Court. In 1934, he left the Bench to serve as Assistant Counsel for the Federal Land Bank. In 1937, he joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina Law School where he established a practice court which was the first of its kind in the United States and a model for other law schools. Judge Whaley retired from the faculty of the Law School in 1955.
After retirement, he wrote Hornbooks on South Carolina Evidence and South Carolina Trial and Appellate Practice.
On December 17, 1908, he married Edna Lyman Reed, who survived. They had five children: Mrs. F. Jenkins Knight, Mrs. J. Carlisle Smith, Baynard Reed Whaley, Atherton Mikell Whaley, and Marion Hampton Whaley.
Judge Whaley was a successful practitioner, eminent Judge and an outstanding law teacher whose career embraced all three branches of his profession.
Located in the Attorney’s Room, 120F.