Bernette Joshua Johnson

Bernette Joshua Johnson

Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson is the first African-American Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, sworn in February of 2013. Chief Justice Johnson was elected to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1994, and was re-elected, without opposition, in 2000 and 2010.  She earned a B.A. from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and was one of the first African-American women to attend the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, where she earned a J.D. in 1969. Following law school, Chief Justice Johnson became the managing attorney with the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation. She formerly served on the staff of the City Attorney’s Office and as Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. Chief Justice Johnson’s judicial career began in 1984 as the first woman elected to serve on the Civil District Court of New Orleans. She was re-elected, without opposition, in 1990 and was elected Chief Judge in 1994. Chief Justice Johnson is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the 2010 Spirit of Excellence Award presented by the American Bar Association; the 2009 Distinguished Jurist Award presented by the Louisiana Bar Foundation, and the Louisiana Bar Association President’s Award for Exceptional Service as co-chair of the Task Force on Diversity in the Profession; and the 1998 American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.