The Honorable Lionel R. Collins.

Judges from across Louisiana attended the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel on July 30th, 2014, for the 25th annual Lionel R. Collins Dinner.

Rodney & Etter, LLC and McGlinchey Stafford have hosted the Dinner to commemorate the cases of Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 646 (1991), and Chisom v. Roemer, 501 U.S. 380 (1991), which together desegregated the Louisiana Trial, Appellate and Supreme Courts. In the wake of those legal victories, the evening's namesake, Lionel R. Collins, became one of the first African-American judges in the history of the State of Louisiana.

Due to the courage of plaintiffs, Janice Clark, Ron Chisom, Marc H. Morial and others, and the aggressive pursuit of litigation under the Voting Rights Act by attorneys Ernest Johnson, William Quigley, Roy J. Rodney, Jr., Ron Wilson, Lani Guinier, Pamela Karlan, 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 now enjoys the nation’s largest per capita population of African-American judges.

For over 25 years, the celebration has been held in conjunction with the National Bar Association Convention. In 2014, Prof. Raphael Cassimere, Jr. and Ms. Ruth L. Ramsey were guest speakers sharing their personal perspective on changes in the 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dr. Cassimere, recently retired as the Seraphia D. Leyda University Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, has remained active in the NAACP since 1960. He was president of the New Orleans NAACP Youth Council during the critical years 1960-1966.

Ms. Ruth L. Ramsey is Vice President and General Counsel of Liberty Bank, one of the largest African-American financial businesses in the U.S. Ms. Ramsey is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Chicago Law School, and previously served as Associate General Counsel and Acting General Counsel at Peace Corps in Washington, DC, and as an Attorney/Mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.