Bernette Johnson Sworn In As First Black Supreme Court Chief Justice
Louisiana recently swore in the first black chief justice for the Louisiana Supreme Court. Chief Justice Bernette Johnson was sworn in on Friday, February 1, 2013 by her daughter Rachael D. Johnson. Bernette Johnson served as a district trial judge for ten years, before joining the state appeals court in 1994. She was then appointed to the Supreme Court in the Eighth District as part of an earlier lawsuit settlement that addressed racial bias and voter dilution in the election of justices to high courts in Louisiana. Johnson represented the Eighth District that included both Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, until the courts reverted back to a seven district system in 2000, when she won election to the Supreme Court by voters. Justice Johnson filed a lawsuit in July 2012, after her Supreme Court colleagues disputed whether Justice Johnson had the seniority to succeed her predecessor, Catherine “Kitty” Kimball. Her colleague, Justice Jeffrey Victory, a white justice, had claimed seniority and argued that Justice Johnson’s years of service at appointment should not count. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in Johnson’s favor in October 2012, settling the dispute and clearing the way for Justice Johnson to assume her new role as Chief Justice.
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Public Nomination Ceremony Planned For February
The public ceremony celebrating Chief Justice Bernette Johnson will take place on the Louisiana Supreme Court’s courthouse steps in the French Quarter on February 28, 2013 at noon. The Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart extend our congratulations to Chief Justice Bernette Johnson!
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