Judge Bernette Johnson will be the first black Chief Justice of the Louisiana State Court. Johnson was first voted into the Louisiana State Appeals Court in 1994.
Her appointment was during a discrimination lawsuit settlement regarding the election system of judges. The system then apparently violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Civil rights activists, lawyers, the NAACP Defense Fund and even editorials of the New York Times took part in a major defense effort for Judge Johnson. She took her place on the state appeals bench, and served in the eighth Supreme Court district in New Orleans until the court reverted back to seven districts in 2000. This was the same time she was appointed to the Supreme Court.