The number of judges in Louisiana district courts has doubled in the past 25 years, yet minority representation on the bench in those courts has increased only 1 percent, according to a new Tulane University study tracking gender and racial diversity in the state’s judiciary.
Professor of Political Science Sally J. Kenney and Research Professor Heather L. Johnson of Tulane’s Newcomb College Institute examined Louisiana Secretary of State figures tracking gender and race for judges in federal, state and parish courts since 1992 and compared them to U.S. census data.
The report will be released at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, in room 110 of John Giffen Weinmann Hall at Tulane. A panel discussion will follow featuring Chief Justice Bernette Johnson of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Caroline Fredrickson, president of The American Constitution Society.
"It is up to citizens committed to a diverse and representative bench and equal justice under law to keep vigilant to ensure that we do not reverse the progress Louisiana has made.”
Highlights of the report include:
“A gradual increase in both the number of women and minority men judges should not lull us into complacency. Progress is not natural, inevitable, or irreversible,” said Kenney, Newcomb College Institute executive director. “Women’s representation on the Louisiana Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has gone down. Given President Trump’s nomination of almost exclusively white men, the federal courts in Louisiana will likely become less diverse. It is up to citizens committed to a diverse and representative bench and equal justice under law to keep vigilant to ensure that we do not reverse the progress Louisiana has made.”