Judge Susie Morgan Rules Bernette Johnson As Next Chief Justice in Louisiana

September 24, 2012 - 2 minute read

The natural line of succession for chief justice in Louisiana was questioned when Justice Jeffrey Victory expressed that he held more seniority than Justice Bernette Johnson.

Federal District Court Judge Susie Morgan ruled that Justice Bernette Johnson has the seniority needed to succeed Catherine “Kitty” Kimball as chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court when Kimball retires early next year”. That ruling allows Justice Johnson to apply her almost 6 years of appellate judging to her ranking. This level of seniority can also be used “for all purposes under Louisiana law. According to the Louisiana Constitution, “the longest-serving justice serves as chief justice”. This was the information used when making the final decision of who would be the succeeding chief justice in Louisiana.

Collectively, the cases of Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 646 (1991), and Chisom v. Roemer, 501 U.S. 380 (1991), desegregated the Louisiana Trail, Appellate and Supreme Courts. The cases were filed after years of proposed legislation failed to reform judicial districts that effectively, and often intentionally, diluted the voting strength of Louisiana’s large African-American communities. Due to the courage the plaintiffs, Janice Clark, Ron Chisom, Marc H. Morial and others, aggressive pursuit of litigation under the Voting Rights Act by attorneys Ernest Johnson, William Quigley, Roy J. Rodney, Jr., Ron Wilson, Lani Guinier, Pamela Karian, the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford and many others as well as the strong support of organizations including the Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society. Louisiana enjoys the nation’s largest population of African-American judges.





The Times-Picayune article “Judge Susie Morgan rules Bernette Johnson has seniority to be next chief justice”

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