Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

Justice Bernette Johnson

2nd July 2012   ·   0 Comments

To include but not limited to- Judge Yvonne Hughes, Judge C. Hunter King, Judge Sonia Spears…, Remember those names? They’re all African- Americans who received timely and swift disciplinary actions by the Disciplinary Arm of The Louisiana Supreme Court. The Louisiana Supreme Court is a Caucasian aka White Body of Politicos, save one, Justice Bernette Johnson.

Justice Johnson is the longest-serving Supreme Court Justice, which means according to tradition and Louisiana Law? She has earned a position as next “Chief Justice”! But, Louisiana is a “Staunch Red State”! Meaning? Not so fast Negroes?

If Justice Johnson were white, like Justice Kitty Kimball, the first such female to occupy the post, no problem. I can’t recall a single rejection upon her ascendency following that of former Chief Justice Pascal Calegero. So why all the non traditional and legal anomalies designed to impede the promotion of Justice Johnson by current Chief Justice Kitty Kimball? For average lay persons, this all sounds rhetorical. But issues regarding the expeditious removal of Elected African- American jurist, and the failure of the Court’s Official Disciplinary Arm to communicate and demonstrate parity with respect to the expeditious investigations and removal of District Attorneys like Jena, La. District Attorney Reed Walters for “Public Intimidation of Juveniles,” and others in St. Tammany Parish, contributes to this strange and frankly, Red State Context. Also, recall the prominent Confederate Flag hoisted at the Door of Jena’s Parish Public Court House, a representative icon of the ideological state of Justice licensed and sanctioned by virtue of Louisiana Supreme Court Law Licenses. Hard to claim ignorance, unless Justices live and work “Under Rocks”! We’re told, their offices are housed on Royal St., exactly where one of Louisiana’s most racist Justices ever, Edward Douglas White 1894-1921, has a Statue in place celebrating his racist acts, to include but not limited to his “Separate But Equal” Leadership and as a member of one of the most Racist U.S. Supreme Courts ever excluding one, Justice Henry Billings Brown!

I am recommending a new name to be placed in contention for “Statue Honors” on Royal Street. Not only because of her role with respect to Justice Johnson, But recall Rule XX, Student Lawyer Practice Rule, and Justice Kimball’s role. She was admonished then on moral grounds, not that it mattered, for allowing Loui­siana Business Interest to ramrod innocent indigent citizens who lacked the funding to compete with “Justice For Sale,” see PBS Frontline!

Once upon a time, Law was “Common.” Traditions and standards were the rule and Benchmarks. What is happening to Justice John­son is “not and rot.” What Justice Kimball is doing, is akin to “Inter­position and Nullification.” When Qua­li­fied African-American Jurist have earned their way to ascendency, Jurist like Kimball invoke Renegade/ Confederate and uncommon rules. “Nothing New Under The Sun”!

For these recent acts, Chief Justice Kimball has earned Red State Politics Immortality, just like Confederate Justice White. They will remain always, “The Quintessential Poster Icons” for why Red State Politics and Justice will forever remain oxymorons. What is happening to Justice Johnson is an insult to the literate, civilized and progressive “Flat World.”

- Hal Green

This article was originally published in the July 2, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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