Louisiana House votes against minority judgeship bill
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: A controversial bill that would have made it easier for a minority judge to be elected in Terrebonne Parish was defeated by the Louisiana House of Representatives on June 7, 2011 with a vote of 51-40. The bill was authored by Rep. Damon Baldone (D-Houma) and was filed by Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge). It would have created a sub-district in Terrebonne Parish for the next district court judge election. Specifically, had the bill passed, it would have created one new voting sub-district for a predominantly black area and one sub-district for a predominantly white area. Each of these new districts would elect one judge and the district as a whole would elect the other three. The judges of the 32nd District Court are currently all white men who opposed the legislation, although they said they did not oppose having a minority judge on the court. In a letter signed by the judges and addressed to the Legislature, they stated, “As elected officials we are concerned that the wishes of our constituents are not being adequately considered or respected...To be clear, there has not been an adequate opportunity for public comment or analysis, particularly by the local bar association.” The NAACP has been supporting the bill and is still fighting for its approval. Jerome Boykin, President of the Terrebonne Parish NAACP, said, "I can assure you this is not the end of our fight...What happened here today on the House floor gives us no other choice but to file a lawsuit."