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Chambers' Bulletins

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 3:06 pm

Remarks from Judge Waites: 

I salute the Court’s recognition of the service of Judge Thurmond Bishop from 1987 to 2006. I was very fortunate to serve as his colleague for my first 12 years on the bench and learned a lot from him. I know the lawyers that appeared before him agree with me that his keen intelligence, dry wit and sense of humor, his focus on fundamental fairness and old fashioned common sense made him an outstanding judge. During his tenure, he handled some of the largest chapter 11 cases filed in this District, and was rated as one of the best bankruptcy judges in the country by one publication. At one point after the retirement of Judge Davis, Judge Bishop and I carried the largest caseload per judge in the country, but with frequent communication and the help from staff and the Clerk’s office, we never felt overwhelmed. 

I benefited from and miss our frequent lunches where we reviewed everything from our cases, to politics, news, sports and the latest family news. I was truly blessed to have his support and friendship over the years, as well as the closeness of our families, who grew up and were often together during our years on the bench. 

I know Judge Bishop always enjoys a call or visit if you are near Abbeville, so I encourage you to let him know he is missed.

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 8:28 am

Wm. Thurmond Bishop was sworn in as United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of South Carolina on October 30, 1987, thirty years ago today. He served as Chief Judge from 2000 - 2006. Upon his 2006 retirement he resumed the private practice of law in his hometown.

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:53 am
  In Memoriam:    J. Bratton Davis  
    United States Bankruptcy Judge  


Remarks from Judge Waites:

In honor of what would be his 100th birthday, I wanted to follow the Court’s announcement and share a few personal remarks about my friend and colleague, J. Bratton Davis, this District’s first bankruptcy judge.

For those of us who worked with him or practiced before him or otherwise knew Judge Davis, we remember him as a great jurist but an even better person—always gracious, loyal, kind and caring.  If you did not have a chance to meet him, know that he laid the foundation for all that is good about our Court and practice, including the highest standards for public service, fairness, collegiality and civility. I encourage you to ask almost any of the long-tenured practitioners, judges or trustees in this District to share their memories of him so you may learn what a lasting legacy he has left.

His tenure and accomplishments are inspiring and were celebrated on the occasion of his retirement in a special session of the Court honoring him, the minutes of which were published nationally in volume 284 of the Bankruptcy Reporter. I invite you to review a copy of the minutes of this special session, which are available here.

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 8:58 am

J. Bratton Davis was born 100 years ago today, on October 27, 1917, at Hartsville SC. He was a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a 1940 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He continued graduate study at Harvard Law School in 1941. He was commissioned as a line officer in the United States Navy serving during World War II principally in the South Pacific Theater of Operations.

Judge Davis returned from military service to practice law with the firm of Graydon, Davis and Suber. In 1969 he was appointed the first full-time bankruptcy referee for the District of South Carolina. Prior to that time the District Court had appointed a number of part-time referees, usually to a division or particular county. In 1973, with the adoption of Bankruptcy Rules, the United States Supreme Court changed the judicial office from referee to bankruptcy judge. Judge Davis continued to serve until his retirement in 2000, including as Chief Judge from 1986 to 2000. Our courthouse is named in his honor.

Judge Davis’obituary, following his October 29, 2004 death, reflected some of his accomplishments and contributions:

In 1948, the Junior Chamber of Commerce named Judge Davis Columbia's Young Man of the Year. He has served as: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of South Carolina (1969–2000) ; Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of S.C. (1986–2000) ; chairman, State of South Carolina Development Board; Columbia Board of Directors of the South Carolina National Bank; Board of Directors of Security Federal Savings and Loan Association; president of the Columbia Museum of Art; vestryman, Trinity Cathedral; member of the Judicial Conference of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; member of the Security and Facilities Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States; member of the Board of Directors of the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the University of South Carolina Law School Partnership Board; member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia and Donald S. Russell Symposium Committee; member of the Board of Governors of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges; president of the Columbia Kiwanis Club; member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Chapter of the American Red Cross; member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis; chairman of the Donald Russell Gubernatorial Inauguration Committee; member of the Board of Directors of the Byrnes Foundation; and member of the Board of Directors of the James F. Byrnes Centennial Committee. In 2000, Judge Davis was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor conferred by the State of South Carolina.

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