Don Briggs,President,Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
BATON ROUGE - The presidential elections have come and gone. However, another election is still undecided.
On Dec. 8, the residents of Louisiana Supreme Court District 5 will head to the polls for the runoff election between Democratic Circuit Judge John Michael Guidry and Republican Circuit Judge Jeff Hughes.
The judicial branch can largely influence the future of our state through social needs and legal and business concerns. Will we be pro-business and have a healthy legal climate for companies to conduct business, or will we continue ranking at the bottom of too many national polls?
Louisiana is ranked 49th for our lawsuit climate, judges' competency, judges impartiality and juries' fairness. So when we look at this Supreme Court race, we have to ask which candidate once elected will help reverse these alarming numbers?
The Economic Judicial Report ranked Hughes at 29 percent regarding his ability to restrain liabilities within our state. Liabilities are the chief concerns of the business and legal communities when deciding on a Supreme Court justice. Guidry scored 58 percent.
It is also fair to note that Hughes is supported by a group of trial lawyers who have created a cottage industry called legacy lawsuits. As well, Gov. Bobby Jindal recently endorsed Hughes.
It is surprising to see the governor endorse a candidate who is backed, again, by the very group of anti-business trial lawyers that fought against the oil and gas industry on the legacy matter.
Again, this is not about simply endorsing or electing a judge. This is about looking at the broader picture of who these candidates are and who supports them during the election season.