The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry launched a website Monday about the state's judiciary, with district maps, judge biographies and other information.
The website, LouisianaJudiciary.com, says that it's dedicated to making voters as informed about the judges they elect as they are about officials in other branches of government. People can use it to search for their judicial districts and to see which judges represent them at the Louisiana Supreme Court, court of appeal and district court levels.
LABI announced last year that they planned to ramp up their activism related to judges, and was among many parties that pushed the Supreme Court to ease secrecy rules that often left the public in the dark about the outcomes of complaints against judges.“It’s a first step into some transparency into this very vital branch of government," said Lauren Chauvin, the director of LABI's judicial program.
The website will expand in the future to include election maps, court records and more. Chauvin said they expect to include information about judge's dockets that show how many cases they're carrying at once and how efficiently they're clearing dockets.
LABI's members and political action committees have been active for years in supporting pro-business judges. The groups' PACs often donate heavily in judicial campaigns and endorse candidates. And decades ago, LABI even created rating systems for Louisiana Supreme Court justices by calculating the percentage of times that judges issued pro-business rulings from the bench.
Those ratings have long been done away with, and Chauvin said the new website is not an attempt to return to those days.
“We’re not interested in how judges are ruling," she said. "We’re interested in judges who are being effective and efficient.”