PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Chief Justice Pascal
F. Calogero, Jr. announced today that the Ad Hoc
Committee to Study the Creation of a Judicial Campaign Oversight
Committee, established by the Louisiana Supreme Court in April
2000, will hold a Public Hearing on
Thursday, November 16, 2000 at 1:00 p.m. in the Courtroom
of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 301 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans.
The public is invited to comment on the possibility
of the Supreme Court establishing a permanent judicial campaign
oversight committee and related issues. Written or oral comments
The Study Committee
has been charged with studying and making recommendations
to the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding the benefits and
feasibility of establishing a permanent judicial campaign
oversight committee. A permanent judicial campaign oversight
committee would presumably be charged with helping facilitate
ethical judicial campaigning and with assisting judges and
judicial candidates with ethical concerns which often arise
during the course of judicial campaigns. It is anticipated
that the public would benefit from the creation of a permanent
judicial campaign oversight committee, since such a committee
would help judges and candidates observe and comply with the
high standards of ethical conduct required by the Louisiana
Code of Judicial Conduct. The Study Committee has been informed
that seven states (Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio,
Oklahoma, and South Dakota) have in place committees that
engage in some form of judicial campaign oversight.
The members of the
Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Creation of a Judicial
Campaign Oversight Committee are: Chief Justice Pascal F.
Calogero, Jr., Co-Chair; Retired Judge Graydon K. Kitchens,
Jr., Co-Chair; Retired Judge Melvin A. Shortess; Judge Anne
Lennan Simon; Judge Wilson R. Ramshur; Judge Eugene W. Bryson,
Jr.; Judge Jimmy N. Dimos; Judge Ronald D. Cox; Judge Ernestine
S. Gray; Senator Jay Dardenne; Representative Arthur A. Morrell;
Harry S. Hardin, III; John S. Keller; John B. Scofield; Professor
T. Wayne Parent; Barry Irwin; James C. Brandt; E. Phelps Gay;
Peter Babin, III; and Frank P. Simoneaux.
The Study Committee
is presently disposed toward recommending the creation of
a permanent judicial campaign oversight committee, since the
creation of such a committee would help facilitate ethical
judicial campaigning in Louisiana. In addition to considering
whether or not to recommend the creation of a permanent judicial
campaign oversight committee, a number of other ancillary
issues have been considered. Among these issues are the following:
Should the permanent committee be composed of judges,
lawyers and citizens, or should it consist only of lawyers
What is the optimum size of the permanent committee?
(c) Terms of
Office. Should permanent committee members be appointed
for definite terms of office and if so, what should the optimum
Should the permanent committee's jurisdiction extend
to campaigns for justice of the peace seats?
Conduct Pledge. Should the permanent committee be
charged with creating a campaign conduct pledge that judicial
candidates would be asked to sign?
Authority. Should the permanent committee be given
the power to issue, or have issued, cease and desist orders?
Role. Should the permanent committee be charged
with educating judges and judicial candidates about ethical
Form. Should the permanent committee be charged with
developing a written complaint form which would be completed
by persons who feel aggrieved by purportedly unethical campaign
of Written Complaints. Should written complaints
directed to the permanent committee be subject to public inspection?
Discussions of Complaints and Campaign Conduct.
Should the permanent committee be given the authority to,
or be allowed to, publicly discuss particular campaign conduct,
as well as complaints which have been made?
Advertisements. Should the permanent committee be
given the authority to review and comment upon judicial campaign
occurring during the last two weeks of Judicial Campaigns.
Should the permanent committee be charged with developing
procedures for handling problems which occur during the last
two weeks of judicial campaigns?
Should rules be developed to confer immunity in
favor of permanent committee members?
Opinions. Should the permanent committee be authorized
to issue written advisory opinions, and if so, should those
opinions be made available to the public?
Should the permanent committee be autonomous, or
should it be affiliated with the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana?
(The Judiciary Commission is constitutionally charged with
investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and recommending
judicial discipline where appropriate).
Acknowledgment of Referrals to the Judiciary Commission.
Should the Study Committee recommend appropriate rule changes
so as to authorize the permanent committee to publicly discuss
referrals it makes to the Judiciary Commission?
Handling of Judicial Campaign Matters. Should the
Study Committee recommend the amendment of Judiciary Commission
Rules and procedures to allow for the expeditious handling
of complaints referred to the Judiciary Commission when the
complaints involve campaign conduct?
Should interested persons
or groups wish to comment in writing, such comments may be
offered at the public hearing or may be forwarded to Deputy
Judicial Administrator/General Counsel Timothy F. Averill
c/o Judicial Administrator's Office, Louisiana Supreme Court,
1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1540, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments should be
forwarded no later than Thursday, November 16, 2000. Seating
in the Courtroom is limited. Reserve a seat by calling (504)