Louisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973).

Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 6) online

. (page 55 of 155)
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throuah ^^^ Tobias amendment came up, I had some very strong

stated reservations concerning the status of all courts,

gj ' particularly the unique status of our court. I

must also admit to you that I weighed very heavily

'should treat everybody 'he arguments as presented pro and con for the Tobias

the same. New Orleans included, and let the legis- amendment. I think that the amendment as Presented

lature decide which courts ought to be maintained here and the arguments that we previously heard have

and which ones should not convinced me that this amendment will begin to bring

Like I said, I am in support of this amendment. New Orleans, and particularly our courts, to^the
I feel that it is needed to ge

judicial c(

Durt shou

the rest..

.in New Oi

That's not

our job.

should go

in the coi


re I feel

if this extra ''^^^ °^ ^^^ state. I recognize the political
' article plications involved. But it just seems to me that

Sectior35',"'we"wiri"be''abie"to''ciearout the reit "^ are talking about the courts of the State of

' ""i si ana .

[ am particularly concerned, and I guess I was

/inced, about the remarks made concerning the

ture or the attitude that can develop when we

nto the situation of constantly having to

ds of cases that hearten us.

also particularly concerned to the fact

attitude towards the criminal area of

...of the criminal justice system. I know

ng to be very hard, and I guess it kind of

I know being from New Orleans, I

jage and then whenever we get th
1 35, we will be able to clear

'ge your adoption of this amen

irman Henry in the Ch
Further Discussion

i gon Mr. Chairman and felloe
of you

do get ir




am <






pro and (


to r

/ant to say that I am from Orleans Parish and I w^i* to make it perfectly clear as I quote someon

igree with everything Mr. Fontenot said. ^1=^. ■ "ant to make it perfectly clear that I thi..-

It's only a technical amendment. Let's remove the amendment as presented by here has great merits.
t here and let's go ahead and remove the referendum ' think what it will eventually do is bring the
n Section 35 and treat Orleans Parish like the l-" district attorney assigned to each of these


t there a distinction

do and what your theory is, and in principle 1 agree

Wl 1 1

with you, buf don't you believe that it is better


for the people to decide locally whether or not they


want these particular offices than for the legisla-

ture to do It when the people locally are going to


have to fund these agencies?

Mr. Abraham Well, how I feel right now is not the

that we dicf

., , _ 1 administer all of the

and death things? And shouldn't the people in
trving to the particular locality be able to determine who
lo T L.oo will be administering the life and death laws which
ed by the legislature?

i± I think as a practical matter additiona
;hings I have already said, that the legis-
n the various districts can work cut equi-
ilutions to those problems.

,^.i Mr. Duval, is it not a fact that we don'

have any general referendum law in Louisiana and
that, therefore, if this constitutional amendment.
To J » „^^^^^^ 2™o^w™o„^ ^rf^rifarf. as it's provided, if we did have a referendum, will

si 4 7 Motion to t^.TsT/eT tabled Y ^^'^ '0 amend this section further to provide that

bu-i/. Notion to reconsiaer caoiea.j ^^^ legislature would have to provide the manner

Amendment i" which said referendum would have to be called?

Mr. Poynter Amendment No. 1 [by Mr. Duval}, on
page 5, line 18 at the end of the line, delete the
word, "with", and delete line 19 in its entirety.


Mr. Duval I think the convention has already voted
against the public referendum concept in reference
to judicial districts and courts. To reiterate,
this amendment deletes the public referendum portion
of Section B, of Paragraph B. It seems rather lud-
icrous to have a public referendum on a matter of
this sort and not to have a public referendum for
each additional crime enacted by the legislature;

for eacn increase in the criminal penalty, for each ■ - - -—-. » ^i,- " , *•

law changing the Civil Code; for each law affecting Could the legislature without the people voting
a profession; for each law affecting a parish; for on it at al, jus say , "0 . K. we are go ng to have
each law affecting wildlife; for each law affecting one big district, and include Evangel ine Pan sh
environmental control and every other matter which and not give the people in Evangeline Parish a voice
affects the citizens of a locality. This is not ^t all.

to conduct state business to have a , .. r . , ■ u» • . » <

„„, „n th= „or„-irn r, r rro;,tinn nf . Mr. DUVal Mr. FOhtehOt, I might pOlht OUt f



Mr. Duval , don

' t you

think we (

t ri.

ist the legi

slature to act


and impi


in matters

of this kind?


Duval U



. Fontenot

Mr. Duval, 1'
;t of this woul

m not e
d have

xactly sui

what the effec

on certaii

sibilities. I

.et me give you

an exa


Suppose St.

, Landry Parish

, right

now has .


ict court and they have th

ree jud

ges over

And Evangeline Parish, which

we are

right ne


;m, has a d-

istrict court w

ith one

judge in

Could the ■

legislature, wi

thout the people

public ref e


last. ..since 1812, we have been managing without


blic referendum here when there are many this provision that is proposed by the committer

the state

is no public referendum. I think it should be "''■/""tenot But I mean, the legi
deleted. It has no purpose here. It puts something J"=t, if I understand you correctly


out thi

. the constitution which shoulc

if you are going to have it, you ought to put it

just suck in a whole geographical area
istrict and create a new district with-
everywhere because almost every other type of law out the people having any say-so at all.
affects the people more than the changing of a ,.,.,. -j l^ »u ..

that I think

: that ii

necessary, i

t is ne(

ing the judi

cial di!

ing judicial



ate 1

of Lou i si a

na shou


ink ,

al disti



ced ■

into a

nother |


at d


ict ar

e entit


I ask you

in all




' most






for thii

32nd Days Proceedings — August 17, 1973

Further Discussion cerned. And I have seen things like this happen

in the legislature. I hope I don't see it any more.
Mr. Burns Mr. Chairman and fellow delegates, we But it has happened and it can happen, when someone
talk this morning and prior would want to interfere with your local government
n and I thoroughly agree there or your local district, and they would get a major-
ices where a referendum is un- i ty of the legislators who didn't live in that area
36 left to the wisdom of the or weren't too concerned over that area to go along

with them and let the little people back in the

ituation, this is one issue, rural parishes do the best they could without hav-

if there ever was a referendum ing a chance to speak and I want to see them have

lecessary when you start redistrict- an opportunity to vote on their judicial districts

the state or abolish- and I think they should have that opportunity and

icts or merging judicial districts. I hope you don't take it away from them,
■t of the judicial sys-

le voters and the cit- Further Discussion

izens and the people of the state are concerned.

And that's what we lay so much stress and emphasis Mr. Avant Mr. Chairman and fellow delegates, I

on up here in this convention. And I think we rise in opposition to this amendment and I think

should very properly do so, is to think about the you should well heed the words of Senator Rayburn.
people and how their interests are affected. I want to give you a specific example. I'm not

And I don't think any judicial district in the saying that this would happen or is going to happen,

" ■ abolished or I don't but it could happen. I live in East Baton Rouge

r any parishes should Parish. We have eight Representatives in the leg-

unless the people of islature. We have one Representative whom we share

vote on it. with East a"d West Feliciana. We have two Senators,

jsness to give this We have one Senator whom we share with one or more

ideration and thought of those parishes, or maybe both. I am not sure,
dment. We have in this parish approximately seventy

thousand plus registered voters. We have in the

Questions parishes of East and West Feliciana less than half
that many people altogether. Now many people in

Mr. Abraham Mr. Burns, don't you think if we East Baton Rouge Parish own property in East and

empower the legislature.... West Feliciana Parish which is the Twentieth Judi-

Mr. Burns, don't you think that if the legisla- cial District. They have a judge there and they

ture has the authority to revise or change Supreme have a district attorney there. A U.S. highway.

Court Districts without a referendum of the people, 61, goes through that parish.

or to change the appeals court district without a Now this is just an example, and I'm not saying

referendum of the people, that it should also have it would ever happen, but if the people of East

the authority to revise the districts themselves? Baton Rouge Parish ever decided for some reason or

another that they wanted to gobble up and swallow

Mr. Burns Mr. Abraham, in some instances I would that judicial district, they could do it if you

agree with you. But in this instance I can't be- adopt this amendment. And the way this article is

cause there are so many political considerations written as it now stands, it would require the ap-

that could come into this situation that perhaps the proval of both the people in East Baton Rouge Parish

wishes of the people of that particular district and the people of East and West Feliciana before

might be ignored. that could be done. Now that is exactly...! didn't

rise this morning on Mr. Nunez's amendment, I didn't

Mr. Flory Mr. Burns, isn't it true that where the speak on it although I was in favor of it. ..but

legislature has the right to change the judicial this is exactly the Judge Pavy situation, exactly

districts as they relate to the appellate court and what was done in the ni neteen- thi rties when you

the Supreme Court, it requires a two-thirds vote of didn't have the protection that this article as it's

the legislature rather than as is provided in this drawn gives you, when a judge was gerrymandered out

section, a simple majority of the legislature? of office for political reasons. And this is what

we are trying to protect against ever happening a-

M r. Bur ns Well, I might agree with you on that gain. And I say you should well heed the words of

otherwise, Mr. Flory. But I still. ..this is one Senator Rayburn because that's why you write consti-

question or one situation where I think the people tutions. If you wanted to put your complete faith

residing in a particular district should have a in the legislature and in the judiciary, and in the

voice in it. executive, you could just say, "Let there be gov-
ernment." and forget the rest of the constitution.
Flory That's correct. But what I'm saying in But what happened in the n i netenn-th i rt i es in

ion he asked you where the case of St. Landry and Evangeline Parishes, the

B jurisdiction to Judge Pavy situation, pray to God never happens

ts, it requires a two- again. But it certainly won't happen if we reject

B where this does not. this amendment.

Further Discussion

ssion Mr. Tapper Mr. Chairman and fellow delegates, I
rise in opposition to this amendment, not so much

d fellow delegates, because it's in this section, but the convention,

I rise in opposition to this amendment and I see I think this morning, set a dangerous precedent and

where we can do a lot of damage to the people in this will be a continuation of that dangerous

the rural areas and the small areas of this state precedent, and I'd like to leave with you just one

by not allowing them an opportunity to vote. I thought.

have been in the legislature when the governor fell If we continue with this procedure, where do we

out with some certain individual and removed cer- stop? Where do we stop?. ..what about governing

tain individuals from public office and replaced bodies, what about school boards? You answer that

them with a plan of his own. And I don't want to question and think about it when you vote, and I

have to compete with some people who are really hope you vote against this,
not interested in my judicial district by saying

how it would be arranged and what would compose it. Questions

And I think the best thing to do is to do like we've

been doing in the past... let the people of those Mr. Stagg Mr. Tapper, the question before the

districts have an opportunity to speak because they house at the moment is whether or not there needs

are going to be the ones that are going to be con- to be a referendum to change judicial district



to Mr

. Abi




jre ■







vote 1

Dt tt




I se(






32iid Days Proceedings— August 17, 1973






Mr. Stagg

If I


ask you a qu

es t

:ion tl-

lis way:

does the Se


7, P

'aragraph 34


; say '



! may r


ange the jud


al dis

, tricts".

and then it

: says


a two-thirds

vote of

the mem-

bership of

each h

■, may increa


or dec

:rease thi

number of j


i n a



; does

not put

a two-thirc

Is vote

: on

the rearrang


!nt of


lines and i

t has


so done for



Do you

2S. Is that net correct? under that concept you wouldn't have any district

courts; you would just have a court, a state court.
Tapper I believe you're right. There would be no judicial districts. Ladies and

gentlemen, I want you to know that there is a great
Stagg Do you know what the present constitu- hurrah for this concept by the social engineers who
nal provision is? are pushing all of this socialist stuff on us in this

country today. That is a part of it. Do away with
Tapper Yes. your judicial districts, do away with your local

control, concentrate it all in a Supreme Court, in
Stagg Does it not permit the legislature to the governor, in just a few people, and you won't
nge district lines and has it not so permitted have any more local control. I know the gentlemen
the last 51 years? that introduced this amendment doesn't have anything

like that in mind, but I have been watching what
Tapper I believe you're right. has been. ..was tried to be put off on the Judicial

Committee by the reformers and let me say this that
ote of members of that most of them were outside the state of Louisiana,
or anything. We had all kinds of experts come in and talk to us

and explain to us what great advantages this uniform
-thirds of the legis- court system could be, and I can see in this amend-
ment the effect of it would be an opening wedge
where you turn this matter simply over to the leg-
islature and the legislature is going to be bom-
barded with these reformers' efforts to change. I
want you to know that they have their organization
and they have the money to put these things over.
I ask you to defeat this amendment. Leave this
thing to local control. I believe, I know that
people make mistakes at elections, but I am a
fundamental believer in the ultimate wisdom of the
not know that to be the case? voters if they are free to vote as they please.

Mr. Tapper You're reading and you have me at a
disadvantage, Mr. Stagg, as you so often do, how-
ever, if that is in the present constitution 1 tl-

like on many, many other things that are in there, Mr. Weiss Delegate Kilbourne, who finances the

we're here to change that and I hope that we change judicial district courts? Who pays for this?
it in this convention. It is wrong to burden the

people with the decisions of the legislature at the Mr. Kilbourne The state pays most of the expense,

whim of the vote in the legislature to rearrange but not all of it, and that's another thing. That's

your judicial districts, your school boards and another angle they have. The state pays the judges,

your governing bodies, and I hope that you defeat Most of the other expenses are paid for locally,

this amendment. If we're going to do this with the That's another thing that's going to be brought up

judicial, we're going all the way. here, I imagine. They'd have to take all the local

bonds and everything and send them into Baton Rouge

Mr. Perez Mr. Tapper, isn't it true that Mr. and let the state dole out your funds for your

Stagg's interpretation of the constitutional pro- clerks of court and your sheriffs and everything.
vision must be patently wrong because of the fact

that many, many times there have been attempts to [previous Question ordered.]

pass constitutional amendments in order to attempt

districts as we, I believe you Closing

3 had with respect to the 25th

Mr. Duval I've heard the many arguments against

the amendment. I understand these

;ir, Mr. Perez, 1 sponsored and I certainly would be willing to ace

passed successfully through the legislature two such to the section that it takes a two-
bills attempting to divide our judicial district, the legislature. But I might point
and we passed it in both Plaquemines and St. Bernard, have a public referendum here on ju
the rest of the state voted it down. Ladies and and this great paranoia here, when the legislature
gentlemen, for the sake of getting at the judiciary can pass laws which affect us far more than judicial
let us not ruin the whole state, please. districts affecting directly our local area without

a public referendum. If this amendment fails, I

Further Discussion suggest to you that we have a public referendum for

every law affecting wild life, for every law affect-
Chairman, fellow delegates, I ing oil, for every law affecting

f they
as a qi


on, :




s De

legate Ki


to divide :




, that w(


icial D-




Yes, :

its, and


vote of

lis, why


rise in opposition to this amendment. I oppose we ought to have a public referendum affecting the
this concept for the same reason that I opposed it economic structure of the state, affecting reorgan-
on the Judiciary Committee. Now, in the article in ization, all of these things are important facets

Online LibraryLouisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973)Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 6) → online text (page 55 of 155)