As part of an effort to expand its outreach and public presence, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is looking to create a legal advisory council to evaluate judges, their decisions, and how those affect the business community.
The group's civil justice director Lauren Chauvin said the initiative is an opportunity to get people more informed about how court cases, and who decides outcomes, can affect them.
“In general, we’re just getting more involved in the judiciary, just like we’re getting more involved in state-wide races,” said Chauvin, who added political involvement is more necessary now than it used to be. “You have to be on social media, you have to be paying attention at the federal level, and you have to be paying attention to all three branches of government.”
The new judicial program is part of LABI’s effort to be more active in the judiciary system, particularly in taking positions in significant litigation.
“Our legal advisory council is one piece of that,” she said. “It’s our grass-roots effort to have a more proactive amicus program – where we write into cases that will affect the business community in general.”
The president of the Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governors, Robert A. Kutcher, however, has criticized the initiative in an article in The Advocate. He called it a "simplistic" effort.
“That was very disappointing, because he did not reach out to us and ask us about that,” Chauvin said.
Chauvin said LABI just wants transparency in the courts, so that the public has a better understanding of what is going on and that things operate more fairly.
"We’re looking for fair, diligent judges," Chauvin said. “We think that when people are paying attention, that things run more smoothly. Democracy runs the best when you have an informed electorate.”