Louisiana Supreme Court elections
|There are seven justices on the Louisiana Supreme Court, each elected to ten-year terms. They must face re-election if they wish to serve again. For more information about these elections, visit the Louisiana judicial elections page.
Unlike most states, supreme court justices in Louisiana are elected to represent specific districts. The seven justices are divided evenly among seven supreme court districts (not to be confused with the 42 divisions of the district courts) and are voted into office by the residents of their respective regions. Only the states of Illinois, Kentucky and Mississippi use a similar system.
Selection of chief justice
To serve on this court, a judge must be:
These specific requirements are fairly new. Visit the Judicial selection in Louisiana page to see when these policies on term length and residency came into being.
Per Article V of the Louisiana Constitution, midterm vacancies are to be temporarily filled by the remaining members of the supreme court. Within one year of the opening, a special election (called by the governor, preferably on the date of a preexisting gubernatorial or congressional election) is to be held. If the supreme court has appointed a successor, that appointee may not run for the seat in the special election.
This provision barring appointees from running in special elections was added to the constitution in 1974. Delegates to the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention complained that 60 percent of sitting judges had been initially appointed, an indication that appointees received an unfair electoral advantage. At the time, judicial vacancies were filled by the governor. The measure was enacted to (1) curtail the governor's power in the matter and (2) remove the appointees' electoral advantage. United States District Judge Tom Stagg said of the clause,
A vacancy on the Louisiana Supreme Court was created with the 2009 retirement of Justice Chet Traylor. 4th District Judge Marcus Clark defeated former executive counsel to Governor Bobby Jindal, Jimmy Faircloth, on October 17, 2009. 
Elections for two seats were held in 2008, in the First and Fifth Districts. Chief Justice Pascal Calogero retired from the court, leaving a vacancy in the First District. With the election of Greg Guidry, a Republican would represent the district on the court for the first time in thirty-six years.
Fifth District Justice Catherine Kimball was challenged in her re-election bid and won, making her the most senior justice on the court and the new chief justice. Kimball became the first female to serve in this position on the Louisiana Supreme Court; she had also been the first female justice on the court.
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Louisiana; Selection of Judges," archived October 2, 2014
- Louisiana Supreme Court, "Maps of Judicial Districts," accessed May 6, 2014
- NOLA.com, "Lawmakers fail to pass amendment eliminating mandatory retirement age of judges," June 3, 2013
- Louisiana Supreme Court, "Henry Julien v. The Honorable W. Fox McKeithan," accessed May 6, 2014
- Leagle, "Marcelle v. DeCuir," September 21, 1995
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Town Talk, "District 4 Supreme Court race far from dull -- or positive," September 27, 2009
- The Pointe Coupee Banner, "Supreme Court Chief Justice 'Kitty' Kimball retires" accessed 2/13/2014