Judge Lee Casey Manning has retired from the bench after serving for 28 years.
South Carolina state law requires judges to retire by age 72.
Manning has long been known as a trailblazer.
Manning played for Dillon High School, where his team won a state championship and where in his senior year, he was named the South Carolina High School Player of the Year.
In 1969, Manning went to the University of South Carolina, where he played the position of guard. He was the first African-American basketball player and scholarship athlete at the University of South Carolina playing under Coach Frank McGuire. Manning received the Freshman Academic Award, was listed among the “Who’s Who” in colleges, and earned the Outstanding Senior Award while in college.
Manning earned a bachelor’s in Political Science and History in 1973, and then earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1977. Manning was elected to the Fifth Judicial Court as Circuit Court Judge by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1994.
Among his many honors are the Richland County Bar Association’s Matthew J. Perry Civility Award in 2002, South Carolina Association of Justice’s Outstanding Contribution to Justice Award in 2006, American Board of Trial Advocates Award in 2011, and the South Carolina Supreme Court’s G. Dewey Oxner, Jr. Lawyer Mentoring Award in 2015. He has also served as a radio color analyst for USC Men’s Basketball games and is a former president of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame into which he was inducted in 2018.
Manning also received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina in May 2022.
Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate Manning and his career. Judge Costa Pleicones, a former chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, compared Manning to baseball great Jackie Robinson. “Casey Manning is South Carolina’s Jackie Robinson,” Pleicones said.
Many people gave remarks and spoke about his humor on the bench, his different color cowboy boots, his work with young attorneys, his charitable activities and more.
Manning received the Order of the Palmetto personally given to him by Governor Henry McMaster. Governor McMaster said Manning had a “remarkable career and a remarkable impact on our state.” Manning was presented a key to the city of Columbia from former law clerk and City Manager Teresa Wilson and Columbia Councilman Edwin McDowell Jr., and a proclamation from the S.C. House, presented by Rep. Seth Rose, a lawyer.
Among the judges in attendance were former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, former state Court of Appeals Chief Judge James Lockemy, and several state judges.
It was announced at the ceremony that a road by the Richland County Courthouse was named in his honor.
Manning is the son of the late Paul and Harnethea B. Manning. His brothers and sisters include Paul Manning, Jr., Glenn Manning, Sr., Joe Melvin Manning, Sr., Linda Manning-Langley, and Sandra Manning-Kirby.