Louisiana Judge Sues Colleagues Over His Removal From Cases

Campaign donations by plaintiffs’ attorneys in a 2012 Louisiana Supreme Court election apparently have fueled an unusual result: A justice is suing colleagues on that high court, saying they illegally forced his recusal from two cases.

Justice Jefferson D. Hughes filed his lawsuit in a federal court, regarding his removal from lawsuits against two oil companies. The lawsuit named Chief Justice Bernette Johnson and Associate Justices Greg Guidry, Marcus Clark and John Weimer, according to The New Orleans Advocate.

Hughes contended his judicial colleagues effectively put “unconstitutional limits on the amount of money a person can contribute to a political action committee.” The plaintiffs attorneys, according to The Advocate, gave hundreds of thousands of dollars toward his election. They supported him through a PAC called Citizens for Clean Water & Land.

The court’s majority also required the recusal of Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll from the legal proceedings. She objected vigorously, saying, “At the behest of defendants, this court has engaged in a high-handed attempt not only to manipulate the outcome of this case but also to disenfranchise the voters of my district who have elected and re-elected me.”

An Associated Press article also reported on the judge’s lawsuit.