NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has sided with Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson in her legal effort to become the state's first black chief justice.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan ruled Saturday that Johnson had the seniority to succeed Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball when she retires early next year.
Johnson sued to block her colleagues from deciding whether she had the seniority to become chief justice.
When voters elected her in 1994, Johnson at first filled an appeal court seat but was assigned to serve on the Supreme Court full-time under terms of a civil rights lawsuit settlement. Some argued that Justice Jeffery Victory, who has served since 1995, has served longer than Johnson. They wanted the Louisiana Supreme Court to settle the question. Johnson argued that she met the constitutional requirement to ascend.
Lawyers for Johnson and the state didn't immediately respond to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment Saturday night.