Plan for Black Judges Fails
NEW ORLEANS — A PLAN designed to elect more black judges in Louisiana has failed in part because of voter concern over a grandfather clause that would have protected the jobs of mostly white incumbents, analysts said. Bill Quigley, a lawyer for blacks who challenged the current election systems, said Sunday that some voters didn't support the proposals because they were ``not interested in giving special opportunities to white, male incumbents.''
Two proposed constitutional amendments - one dealing with the Louisiana Supreme Court and another covering district and appellate judges - lost by large margins in every parish (county).
Voter rejection probably will result in federal courts carving out new plans, Mr. Quigley said. Currently, there are no black Supreme Court justices. There is one black among the state's 52 appellate court judges and five black district judges out of 192.
Meanwhile, voters Saturday overwhelmingly approved a 4-cent boost in gasoline taxes to finance a $1.4 billion highway improvement program, a special fund for coastal restoration projects, and a tough property confiscation measure aimed at drug dealers.