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LFEI pushes for more transparency in judicial elections

March 29, 2019
By Carrie Bradon
Originally Posted on The Louisiana Record

Louisiana business interest groups are seeking more transparency when it comes to the selection of judges, citing the state's history of challenges related to trials and litigation, many of which they believe are caused by trial lawyers’ influence in judicial elections.

The frontrunner for this push is the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) that, according to Truth Out, said it would be re-introducing judicial ratings and evaluations of rulings made by judges in those cases that might impact the business community. Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute (LFEI), an offshoot of LABI, strongly believes in the need for more transparency when it comes to the judicial branch of Louisiana government and is coming alongside in this fight.

“LABI’s Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute will act as another tool in the toolbox for this holistic effort, working to bring greater awareness and transparency to Louisiana’s Judiciary, which, for most, is an unknown entity,” Marie Centanni, director of LFEI, told the Louisiana Record.

Centanni said that many individuals do not know what the inside of a courtroom looks like, which is a jarring reality given the impact that this branch has on the lives of residents.

“Most citizens will never see the inside of a courtroom, and yet this branch of government can profoundly affect our legal climate and stifle economic growth,” Centanni said. "LFEI will help to pull back the curtain, highlighting which judges fairly and evenly apply the law."

Hopes are high, as LABI’s efforts overlap the Trump administration’s push for more pro-business judges in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

LFEI is optimistic that it will be able to encourage economic growth and effective government through its involvement in this judicial matter and, according to the institute's mission statement, is committed to “policy research, issue advocacy, leadership training, as well as free enterprise issue-education seminars to ensure economic growth for the state of Louisiana.”