Feds back Johnson's bid to be next chief justice

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Posted: Jul 27, 2012 5:45 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: new orleans, supreme court, chief, justice

NEW ORLEANS - The Justice Department is backing Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson's bid to become the next chief justice of the state's highest court.

In a court filing Friday, attorneys for the department's civil rights division urge a federal judge to rule that Johnson's first few years of Supreme Court service count toward her seniority, making her the longest-serving justice once Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball retires next year.

Johnson sued earlier this month to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she or Justice Jeffrey Victory hold that distinction and deserve to succeed Kimball.

Victory's supporters argue that Johnson's first few years of service shouldn't count toward her seniority because she technically filled an appeals court seat when she joined the Supreme Court in 1994.

IMAGE: Gibbs Construction

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