More than 20 years later, I remain of the view that the report’s findings, including on the importance of ensuring diversity through electoral subdistricts, continues to resonate today. For example, in Terrebonne Parish, a federal lawsuit seeks to create a majority-black subdistrict to elect one judge of the 32nd Judicial District Court, the state court there. Between 1968, when the 32nd JDC was created, and 2014, when the lawsuit was filed, no black person had ever served on that court. Though a black candidate was elected to an open seat without opposition in 2014 under the existing system, plaintiffs continue to seek a subdistrict that survives any one individual and ensures systemic inclusion on the 32nd Judicial District Court. Ultimately, the creation of a majority-black subdistrict for the 32nd JDC would — as other majority-black sub-districts have done in Louisiana — help increase the public’s confidence in that court, by reducing the racial isolation of judges and countering the perception of any bias in that court’s operations.
Pascal Frank Calogero Jr. is a retired former Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
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