BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — A state senate bill looks to add supreme court justices in the next four years, and the authors said it’ll help better represent the population of Louisiana. The bill would add two justices to the state Supreme Court, bringing the total number to eight from the current six plus the Chief Justice. Some are concerned about the court being stacked by one party.
Senator Patrick McMath of Covington is looking to have a state Supreme Court that he said would better represent the growing population. Senator McMath said right now, one district can have 75% more people than another district which he believes is not an accurate representation. His bill looks to redistrict the court to make the populations balanced and add two new districts.
“You want to have a proper representation of the state on the Supreme Court and the way that our state’s population is laid out, it’s really difficult to make the math and the map pencil properly,” Senator McMath said.
If the bill is passed, it would be put up to the people to vote if they want the expansion. Then if passed, there will be a redrawing of the court districts to create nine that are fairly balanced in population. Some are still concerned about the fairness of the redrawing.
“People are unsure about the makeup of those districts and that’s very concerning to them. they don’t want to see the court stacked one way or the other,” Senator Jay Lunueau, (D) Alexandria said.
Senator McMath assures this bill has nothing to do with the Biden Administration study into the possible expansion of the federal Supreme Court.
“No relation to what is going on at the federal level at all. That’s not apples to apples,” Senator McMath said. “We elect our supreme court justices in the state of Louisiana… it would be consistent with what states like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma have.”
If voted for by the people, the legislature must approve the redistricting with a 2/3 vote, and the governor would need to approve. Co-author Senator Jimmy Harris has also proposed a bill that would finance an election to approve the expansion of the court.
The bill was approved with some amendments to head to the House floor for further debate. McMath said he has support of current justices and believes the bill will find support in the House.