NEW ORLEANS — Judge James "Jimmy" Genovese, a candidate for the Louisiana Supreme Court, hopes experience gained during his time on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal and his 41-year-law career will appeal to state voters in November.
"The experience is invaluable," Genovese, an Opelousas native and candidate in the Louisiana Supreme Court District 3 race, told the Louisiana Record.
He said the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, where he has been a judge since 2005, is an appellate court, as is the state Supreme Court. Of course, Genovese said, there are a number of obvious differences, including at the administrative level and the rank within the state's judicial system, but there also is much crossover between the two.
For instance, state Supreme Court justices are expected to write legal opinions, of which Genovese said he has written approximately 500 during his time on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. State Supreme Court justices also issue writs of review, also which he has written thousands of during his judicial career.
"Anyone with that kind of experience can hit the ground running," he said. "You know what you're there to do, you know what's expected of you, you arrive with all that experience already under your belt."
Genovese, 66, previously served nine years as a district court judge.
"I've dedicated 41 years of my life to the law," he said. "I've handled everything from shoplifting to murder cases."
Genovese last month officially announced his candidacy for the Supreme Court's Third District in a bid to replace Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll. Knoll, 73, who also previously served as a Third Circuit Court of Appeal judge, is one of three Democrats on the seven-member state Supreme Court. Knoll is nearing the end of her second 10-year term and is expected to retire at the end of this year.
Judge Marilyn Castle, chief judge on the 15th Judicial District Court, also is running for the same seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court's Third District encompasses Acadia, Avoyelles, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry and Vermilion parishes.
Genovese has established a Facebook page and a website for his campaign. On his website, he lists his "judicial philosophy" as: absolute fairness and equality; a level playing field with a balanced approach; no allegiance to any special interest groups; a strict following of the rule of law; and pro God, pro life, pro family and pro justice.
Genovese also takes a dim view of "judicial activism." Judges take oaths to support the laws and constitutions of the state and the country; and there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.
"It is necessary that those separation of powers be kept in place and be honored," Genovese said.
As a judge, Genovese said he is in no doubt of what his job entails.
"Our job as judges is to apply the laws to the facts and use our God-given abilities to make important decisions," he said. ". . . I am opposed to judicial activism because that's not my position as a judge; that's not my job."
He added that there are laws he doesn't like but said it's the job of the other branches to fix bad laws.
"If the law needs to be changed, it is not our job on the bench to change those laws," he said. "It is the function of the legislative branch to make it right."
Born and raised in Opelousas and now living in St. Landry Parish, Genovese practiced law for 21 years in Acadiana for 21 years before his election to the bench. In 1971, he received his bachelor's degree from Northwestern State University and his law degree in 1974 from Loyola University in New Orleans. He and his wife, Martha, have five daughters and two grandchildren.