NEW ORLEANS – The first black chief justice in the history of the Louisiana Supreme Court has taken the official oath of office.

Supreme Court Justice Bernette J. Johnson took her official oath of office as Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court and was sworn-in by her daughter, Rachael D. Johnson.

Bernette was surrounded by her immediate family members and the legal community during the brief ceremony.

“After serving for 10 years as a District trial judge, and then as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, I feel well-prepared for the tasks ahead as the chief administrative officer of the judicial system of the state. I am ready to serve, and excited about the challenges of this new position,” Johnson said.

Johnson joined the court in 1992 as part of a federal consent decree mandating at least one minority justice on the state’s high court.

She was first elected to the Seventh Supreme Court District in 1994 and was re-elected without opposition in 2000 and 2010. Her district encompasses both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.

Johnson’s was elected to the Civil District Court of New Orleans to begin her judicial career in 1984, where she was the first female to hold office. In 1990 she was re-elected without opposition and in 1994 was elected Chief Judge.

A public ceremony celebrating the Investiture of Johnson as Chief Justice will take place on Thursday, Feb. 28 at noon on the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court at 400 Royal Street in New Orleans.

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