U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John E. Waites receives Order of the Palmetto Award

May 31, 2022

On May 19, 2022, United States Bankruptcy Judge John E. Waites, District of South Carolina, received from Henry Dargan McMaster, the Governor of South Carolina, the highest award given to civilians in South Carolina, the Order of the Palmetto. Associate Justice John C. Few of the South Carolina Supreme Court presented the award to Judge Waites on behalf of the Governor. Judge Waites is a Columbia native and graduate of Davidson College and the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Among the many reasons cited for making this award to Judge Waites is his almost 28 years’ service as a bankruptcy judge and five years as the US Trustee for Region 4; his expansion of the court’s pro bono program; and his founding of the South Carolina Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) Program, which brings much needed financial education into South Carolina high schools and colleges. He has served two terms on the South Carolina Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, and he is one of the few judges to serve on the SC Bar Pro Bono Program.

He has worked on the national and local level to improve the bankruptcy system. He is the only South Carolina Judge to serve as President of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. He has received recognition and awards from a variety of entities, including the Pro Bono Service Award from South Carolina Legal Services (2013), a Special Pro Bono Award from the SC Bar (2013), the J. Bratton Davis Professionalism Award, presented by the South Carolina Bankruptcy Association (2014), the Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award from the Richland County Bar Association (2015), the Pro Bono Service Award from the Legal Services Corporation (2016), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National CARE Financial Literacy Program (2019).