3 judges recuse themselves from La. justice's suit

Jul 6, 2012

Three federal judges in New Orleans have recused themselves from presiding over Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson's lawsuit seeking to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she is legally entitled to be the court's next chief justice.

The case was transferred Friday to U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan after three other judges — Jay Zainey, Ivan Lemelle and Carl Barbier — disqualified themselves. It wasn't immediately clear if Morgan will keep the case.

Barbier's daughter is a law clerk for Johnson. Zainey said his recusal was related to the law firm representing Johnson. Lemelle didn't specify why he disqualified himself.

Johnson and Justice Jeffrey Victory both stake claims to being the court's longest-serving justice and believe they should succeed Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball.