Court of Appeal Judge Toni Higginbotham qualified to run for reelection Friday afternoon, becoming the second incumbent Baton Rouge judge to run again despite being older than the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age.
Higginbotham is facing three other candidates who have qualified to run in the Nov. 3 election for the seat on the state's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal. Higginbotham has held the 2nd District, Subdistrict 1, Division A seat since 2010.
Higginbotham, 74, qualified three days after the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld a law that says judges can serve past age 70 but cannot run for new terms once they reach that age. One of the judges who challenged that law, Baton Rouge District Court Judge Janice Clark, also qualified to run again Friday afternoon.
Clark said she plans to ask the high court to rehear her case and wants to keep her chances of staying in office alive in the meantime.
Echoing Clark, Higginbotham told The Advocate on Friday that while the Supreme Court had ruled, there was not a chance for a trial or full presentation of evidence. She thinks a rehearing by the court would provide for that opportunity.
"I just want a final answer," she said.
Higginbotham said she feels like she's like she still has "all my faculties." She also noted that there many judges serving elsewhere who are older than her and that presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden are both older than her.
"I’m just not ready to go home," Higginbotham said. "I'm not ready to not do what I’ve been doing and what I love doing. But if they tell me I got to, I will go."
Another candidate has entered a race for an open seat on the state's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.
Three candidates had previously qualified in the judicial race, including Baton Rouge City Court Judge Chris Hester, Melanie Newkome Jones and Johanna R. Landreneau.
Hester, Higginbotham and Landreneau are Republicans. Jones is a Democrat.