South Carolina Supreme Court Justices

Julius B. Ness
Date Born: February 27, 1916

 Date Died: November 12, 1991

Place Born: Manning, SC

Place Buried: Bamberg County Memory Gardens in Bamberg, SC


Chief Justice 1985 - 1988
Associate Justice 1974 - 1985

Julius B. Ness was born on February 27, 1916 in Manning, SC, the son of Morris P. Ness and Raye (Levy) Ness. His family moved to Denmark, SC (Bamberg County) when he was a young boy. His family and friends knew him as "Bubba," a name given him by one of his younger sisters because she could not pronounce Julius. He graduated from Denmark High School, then the University of South Carolina - from academic school in 1938, and law school in 1940.

After graduating from law school, Julius B. Ness moved to Bamberg, SC, where he lived until his death in 1991. He practiced law with the late SC state Senator James Carlisle Kearse, at an initial salary of $30 per month.

In 1941, Julius B. Ness enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps; he first attended flight school, but did not complete the training. He then joined the regular Army and earned the rank of Captain in the 349th Infantry in the 88th Division. He was critically and permanently injured in 1944 while serving in the snow-covered mountains of Italy. After being rescued by a friend, when the surgeon inspected his wounds, he was told his leg would have to be amputated. At the prospect of losing his leg, Ness drew his Colt .45 caliber, semi-automatic sidearm and threatened that if he woke up without his leg, he would kill the doctor that took it. The doctors did not attempt the amputation, and after many months of recuperation, he returned home to Bamberg. For his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts.

Julius B. Ness then returned to the law firm of Kearse and Ness in Bamberg, SC.

In January of 1946, Julius B. Ness married Katherine Rhoad, daughter of William D. Rhoad, Jr. and Katherine (Free) Rhoad; they had one son and one daughter.

In 1954, Julius B. Ness was elected to represent the 2nd Judicial Circuit on the SC Highway Commission and continued in that position for two years, even becoming Chairman in 1956.

In 1956, Julius B. Ness was elected to represent Bamberg County in the SC House of Representatives of the:
- 92nd General Assembly that met from 1957 to 1958

On January 29, 1958, Julius B. Ness was elected as a Judge on the 2nd Judicial Court and he resigned from the SC House of Representatives.

On December 5, 1974, Julius B. Ness was sworn in as an Associate Justice on the SC Supreme Court, replacing Associate Justice James M. Brailsford, Jr., who had just retired.

On June 18, 1985, Julius B. Ness was sworn in as Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court, replacing Chief Justice Cameron Bruce Littlejohn, who had reached the mandatory retirement age. He served as the Chief Justice until he too reached the mandatory retirement age in February of 1988.

After his retirement, Julius B. Ness practiced law with two law firms.

On November 12, 1991, Julius B. Ness died in Bamberg, SC, and he was buried in Bamberg County Memory Gardens in Bamberg, SC.

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