In Case No. 2002-0210, Petition of Representative Peter Burling & a., the court on May 30, 2002, issued the following order:

The court has concluded that it is necessary to appoint a neutral, technical advisor to assist the court in this case. A technical advisor will provide assistance to the court in understanding and utilizing relevant technology and, thus, enable the court to fulfill, on an expedited basis, its constitutional responsibility to establish a reapportionment plan for the House of Representatives.

The court proposes to issue an order appointing Mr. Bobby Bowers, Director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board Office of Research and Statistics, as its technical advisor in this case. Mr. Bowers has served in the capacity as a technical advisor to the United States District Court for South Carolina in redistricting litigation and has extensive experience in this area. See Colleton County Council, et al. v. Glenn F. McConnell, et al., No. 01-3581-10 (D.S.C. Mar. 20, 2002); Burton v. Sheheen, 793 F. Supp. 1329, 1339 (D.S.C. 1992), vacated sub nom., Statewide Reapportionment Advisory Committee v. Theodore, 508 U.S. 968 (1993). Mr. Bowers’ business address is Suite 425, Rembert C. Dennis Building, 1000 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201. A copy of Mr. Bowers’ curriculum vitae is attached to this order.

In his capacity as technical advisor, Mr. Bowers may be called upon to assist the court in educating itself in the technical language of redistricting and mapping and in the technology employed by the parties and their technical experts; to act as a liaison, if necessary, between the court and the parties’ technical experts to achieve an acceptable computer format; and to assist the court in understanding and analyzing the proposed redistricting plans which are expected to be submitted by the parties. Mr. Bowers will advise the court in camera, as requested, concerning any technical matters. To the extent necessary for resolution of this matter, Mr. Bowers may also be called upon to assist in drawing a redistricting plan for the court, but only in accordance with the directives of the court.

Courts have inherent authority to appoint technical advisors in rare cases in which outside technical expertise would be helpful. See Reilly v. United States, 863 F.2d 149, 156 (1st Cir. 1988). "[S]uch appointments should be the exception and not the rule, and should be reserved for truly extraordinary cases where the introduction of outside skills and expertise, not possessed by the judge, will hasten the just adjudication of a dispute without dislodging the delicate balance of the juristic role." Id. See generally State v. Coon, 974 P.2d 386, 395-96 (Alaska 1999) (discussing authority of courts to appoint expert technical advisors).

Throughout this proceeding, Mr. Bowers will act as a sounding board for the court’s assessment of the plans submitted by the parties and will function as a confidential advisor to the court analogous to the role performed by the court’s judicial clerks. He will be appointed only as a technical advisor to the court pursuant to the inherent authority of the court, see Reilly, 863 F.2d 149; he will not be appointed as an expert. Mr. Bowers will not be called upon to testify. He will not act as a finder of fact, nor will he attempt to advise the court on any matter of law. Neither he nor staff members acting at his direction may be subjected to cross-examination, and all confidential computer and other confidential files of Mr. Bowers and his staff prepared in connection with this case, like those of the court, shall be protected from demands for production or disclosure.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PARTIES ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that the court intends to appoint Mr. Bobby Bowers, Director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board Office of Research and Statistics, as its technical advisor in this case. If any party objects to the appointment of Mr. Bowers as technical advisor, that party shall file a written objection, setting forth the specific grounds for the party’s objection, on or before June 5, 2002.

Brock, C.J., Nadeau, Dalianis, and Duggan, JJ. concurred.


Eileen Fox,