Celebrating 200 Years
The Bicentennial of the Louisiana Supreme Court
The Louisiana Supreme Court first convened exactly two hundred years ago on March 1, 1813. The Court’s first justices, George Mathews, Pierre Derbigny, and François-Xavier Martin (they served on the Court after Dominick Hall’s brief tenure), had the difficult task of creating a system of laws from a mélange of English, Spanish, and French laws and customs. Louisiana’s government remained incomplete until the formation of the judiciary. Modern residents of the state owe a great deal to these learned men, especially Martin, who left behind a framework for the future.
The Bicentennial marks the completion of two centuries of the orderly administration of justice for the state of Louisiana, interrupted briefly during the Civil War. This accomplishment must be remembered and celebrated. Louisiana’s justices have met change head-on during all of the judiciary’s phases: from the beginnings of hammering out the law, to disposing of tremendous case backlogs, improving standards for bar admissions, and creating a responsive modern judiciary.
Mathews, Derbigny, and Martin would probably be in awe of what became of the seeds sown 200 years ago. In the words of Governor Luther E. Hall, on the occasion of the judiciary’s centenary, “retrospection is in vain if it leads to no reflection and affords us no promise for the future.” The Louisiana Supreme Court has always been an institution of both reflection and promise. Let us look forward to the next century’s worth of accomplishments while remembering the debts owed to the past.
The Louisiana Supreme Court celebrated 200 years of service as Louisiana’s highest court. In honor of this occasion, the justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court presided over Bicentennial Ceremonies commemorating its legal heritage which dates back to March 1, 1813. The ceremonies took place in the Louisiana Supreme Court courtroom, decorated to recreate the 1913 centennial celebration, which took place 100 years ago