It is a shameful portrait of our state’s highest court that the only person of color on our Supreme Court is also the only justice to speak to the racist foundations of our state’s jury system. Ironically, the people of our state recently adopted an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution mandating unanimous juries and bringing our state one step forward from one of our racist practices embedded in tradition and law. Unfortunately, that amendment applies only prospectively.
The absence of the voices of any of the other justices on this issue is stunning. Not one of the other six Justices felt compelled to push against the perpetuation of our state’s racist history or even to adopt the position on unanimous juries that the people of our state, who by the way, elected those Justices, endorsed by voting in favor of the Amendment to our State Constitution which now requires that juries unanimously find guilt in order to convict in criminal cases.
For me, this portrait of our Louisiana Supreme Court muddles the meaning of justice as dispensed by the Supreme Court justices of our state.