LAKE CHARLES — Vanessa Anseman
is vying to become the next judge on Louisiana's 3rd
Circuit Court of Appeal, fueled by a recent ruling from that
appellate court that she is eligible to run for the seat.
However, Dane Ciolino, the Alvin R.
Christovich Distinguished Professor of Law at the Loyola University
New Orleans College of Law, told the Louisiana Record Anseman
does not have the required amount of time of practicing law to be an
appellate judge in Louisiana.
On March 20, according to a report
by TV station KLFY, the 3rd Circuit ruled in Anseman's
favor in an appeal of an earlier decision by a St. Landry Parish
judge that Anseman did not have the legal experience that is required
to run for the appellate-court seat.
Louisiana State Bar
records show that Anseman got admitted to the Bar on Oct. 10,
2003. However, the Independent printed a
letter dated Feb. 23, 2017, from Louisiana State Bar Association
Executive Director Loretta Larsen that showed the Bar found her to be
ineligible to practice law in the state three times in 2013 and once
more in 2014. The infractions were for not meeting mandatory
continuing-education requirements, failure to pay dues to the Bar,
failure to pay assessment to the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary
Board and not filing the required trust-account registration
The Independent also reported
that Anseman became eligible again to practice law in the state and
became qualified to run for the vacant 3rd Circuit Court
of Appeal seat on the same day, Jan. 13.
"She was actually sworn into the
(Louisiana) Bar more than 10 years ago, but she has not been
practicing law for 10 years," Ciolino said. "And to me,
that's clearly what the intent of the constitutional provision is, is
to assure that anyone who serves on the bench has the requisite
experience as a lawyer."
Ciolino believes the original trial
court made the right decision by ruling Anseman ineligible to run for
"And the 3rd Circuit got it wrong,"
he said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to the Louisiana
Supreme Court to determine whether she has the qualifications to
The Independent that because she was admitted to the Bar 10-plus
years ago, she is eligible to serve as an appellate judge. She also
said that she did not believe that the times when she was not able to
practice law in the state are a factor.
otherwise. The Independent reported that both Ciolino and Anseman
used the same provision of the Louisiana Constitution,
Article 5, Section 24. That qualification says that a judge for
the Supreme Court or appellate court has to have been “admitted to
the practice of law in the state” for 10 years.
understand her textual argument, but ... to me, the way that I read
the Constitution is that it requires 10 years of work as a lawyer,"
Anseman is looking to replace Jimmy
Genovese, who was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court last fall.