South Carolina Supreme Court - Associate Justice


John Henry Waller, Jr.

Associate Justice 1994 - 2009

John H. Waller, Jr. was born on October 31, 1937 in the small rural town of Mullins, SC. He was the only child of J. Henry Waller and Elnita R. Waller. Upon completion of public schools in Mullins, he sought higher education at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. In 1959, after graduation from Wofford with an A.B. degree in psychology, the idea of furthering his education in the area of law first presented itself. That idea had to be delayed due to his military obligation. He reported to Fort Knox, KY, as a 2nd Lieutenant and was discharged from active service the next year. Through years of reserve and national guard service, he was finally discharged as a Captain.

Upon leaving active military service, he enrolled in the Law School at the University of South Carolina in 1960 and received a J.D. degree in 1963. After passing the bar exam, he launched his own law practice in his hometown of Mullins the same year.

In 1966, John Henry Waller, Jr. was first elected as one of two men to represent Marion County in the SC House of Representatives of the:
- 97th General Assembly that met from 1967 to 1968
- 98th General Assembly that met from 1969 to 1970
- 99th General Assembly that met from 1971 to 1972
- 100th General Assembly that met from 1973 to 1974 - only one representative authorized this assembly

In 1974, the SC House of Representatatives was reapportioned into 124 districts, and John Henry Waller, Jr. was elected to represent the 59th House District (part of Marion County) in the SC House of Representatives of the:
- 101st General Assembly that met from 1975 to 1976 - elected House Majority Leader

In 1976, John Henry Waller, Jr. was elected as one of four men to represent the 11th SC Senate District (Florence County, Horry County, Marion County, and Williamsburg County in the SC Senate of the:
- 102nd General Assembly that met from 1977 to 1978
- 103rd General Assembly that met from 1979 to 1980

On June 10, 1980, John Henry Waller, Jr. resigned from the SC Senate after he was elected on June 6, 1980 as a Circuit Court Judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit.

While involved in the practice of law, as well as representing Marion County in the SC House of Representatives, he was also involved in local activities. He was and is a member of the Methodist Church, a Mason, a Shriner, past secretary of the Jaycees, a charter member and first president of the Mullins Rotary Club, and a charter member of the first Board of Directors responsible for organizing and developing Pineland Country Club.

While a circuit judge from 1980 to 1994, he was also a member of and later chairman of both the Circuit Court Judges Advisory Committee and the Judicial Standards Committee. In 1994 a vacancy became available on the SC Supreme Court. Having aspired to this honor, he was elected on May 11, 1994, replacing Associate Justice Archie Lee Chandler, who had recently retired. On June 29, 1994, he was qualified as an Associate Justice of the SC Supreme Court. He retired from the SC Supreme Court in late 2009 due to reaching the mandatory retirement age.

Justice Waller is married to the former Debra Anne Meares and they have two children - Ryan Meares Waller and Rand Ellis Waller. He also has two children from a previous marriage - John H. Waller, III and Melissa Waller Spearman.

(Marion Co.) — b. Oct. 31, 1937 in Mullins; son of the late J. Henry and Elnita (Rabon) Waller; g. Wofford Coll., A.B., 1959; Univ. of S.C., LL.B., J.D., 1963; May 9, 1981 m. Debra Ann Meares, 4 children, John Henry III, Melissa McLaurin, Ryan Meares, and Rand Ellis; Dem. Exec. Committeeman, 1964–66; Mason; Shriner, Potentates Aid; Kappa Sigma Frat.; past Secy., Jaycees; 1967 recipient of Alpha Nu of Kappa Sigma Frat. Man of the Year Award; Distinguished Serv. Award of Municipal Assn. of S.C., 1968; House Majority Leader, 1975–76, Asst., 1973–74; charter mem. & 1st Pres., Mullins Rotary Club, 1973; charter mem. & mem., 1st Bd. of Dirs., Pineland Country Club; mem., Macedonia Methodist Church; elected to State Reorganization Comm., 1974; Chm., Circuit Court Judges Adv. Comm.; Chm., Judicial Standards Comm.; Hon. J.D., Wofford Coll., 2002; Hon. Doctor of Humanities, Francis Marion Univ., 2003; mil. serv.: discharged as Capt., USA in branch of Armor; mem., House of Reps., 1967–76; Sen., 1977–June 10, 1980; elected resident Judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Mar. 18, 1980 to fill the unexpired term of David W. Harwell, elected to Supreme Court; qualified June 6, 1980; serving until elected Assoc. Justice on May 11, 1994 to fill the unexpired term of A. Lee Chandler, elected Chief Justice; qualified June 29, 1994, serving continuously since. 344 SUPREME COURT

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved