Hearing set in dispute over next chief justice

Aug 16, 2012

A federal judge is set to hold a hearing in the dispute over who will to be the next chief justice of Louisiana's Supreme Court.

Louisiana's constitution says the longest-serving of the seven justices must get the top spot.

Bernette Johnson has served on the court since 1994 but supporters of fellow justice Jeffrey Victory say Johnson's first years shouldn't count. She was elected from an appeals court district and assigned to the higher court under a civil rights lawsuit settlement.

Victory has served since 1995.

Johnson, supported by the U.S. Justice Department, seeks to re-open the civil rights suit and block her fellow justices from taking actions that could deny her the chief justice position.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan set a hearing for 10 a.m. Thursday.