Louisiana’s highest court is the Louisiana Supreme Court. The court has six associate justices and one chief justice, who is the member of the court with the most seniority. (Source: Louisiana Constitution)
Justices run for a 10-year term on the Louisiana Supreme Court in partisan elections. When a seat opens in the middle of a term, the remaining justices appoint an interim candidate to fill the vacancy. Within a year of the vacancy, the governor calls a special election. The interim justice may not run in that election, which is a partisan contest open to multiple other candidates. The elected justice then serves the remainder of the unexpired term. The mandatory retirement age is 70.
Louisiana has had 11 constitutions, adopted between 1812 and 1974. As of January 1, 2022, it had 204 amendments. (Source: Council of State Governments)
Citing the governor’s exclusive pardon power, the court struck down a law providing a new path for post-conviction relief.
A recent case considered a unique and underappreciated state constitutional provision.
While state courts have been skeptical of judicial remedies, momentum for legislative responses is growing.
Two court decisions raise questions about whether modifying discriminatory provisions can wash away their dubious histories.