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NAACP Supports Full Implementation of the Chisom Consent Decree

WHEREAS, in 1986 a class action suit was filed in federal court on behalf of all African Americans registered to vote in Orleans Parish, Louisiana (the "Chisom suit"); and

WHEREAS, the Chisom suit established that the manner of electing justices to the Louisiana Supreme Court constituted racial gerrymandering that impermissibly diluted minority voting strength in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and

WHEREAS, after six years of litigation, the Chisom suit was settled by a federal Consent Decree (the "Chisom Consent Decree"); and

WHEREAS, the Chisom Consent Decree provided for the election of a Justice from a racial and ethnic minority majority voting district to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court with equal compensation, benefits, expenses and emoluments due a Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, one of the emoluments of a Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court is seniority of service; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Constitution mandates that the Louisiana Supreme Court Justice with the most seniority of service shall be declared the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, Chief Justice Kimball has announced her retirement effective December 31, 2012; under existing rules, the next most senior person on the court would become the Chief Justice; and

WHEREAS, there is now an attempt by some of the Louisiana Supreme Court Justices to change the process of selecting her replacement in an effort to block opportunities which were made available to racial and ethnic minorities by the Chisom Consent Decree; and

WHEREAS, a final decision guiding this process will be made by early fall, 2012; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Supreme Court makes decisions that have repercussions throughout the south and indeed throughout our nation.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People supports the demands of the Louisiana State Conference that the Chisom Consent Decree be fully enforced.