The 26th Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Weimer Takes the Oath of Office – January 7, 2021
Louisiana Supreme Court Justice John L. Weimer took his oath today as the 26th Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Weimer began his service on the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2001 when he was elected to serve as an Associate Justice, District 6, comprised of the parishes of: Assumption, Iberia, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and a portion of the west bank of Jefferson, which includes Grand Isle. In 2002 and again in 2012, Chief Justice Weimer was re-elected to 10-year terms without opposition.
Chief Justice Weimer began his judicial career with a 7½ month appointment by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve as Judge pro tempore, Division D, of the 17th Judicial District Court in 1993. Two years later, in 1995, he was elected to serve as Judge of the 17th Judicial District Court, Division A, and was re-elected in 1996 without opposition. In 1998, he was elected to serve on the Louisiana Court of Appeal, 1st Circuit.
Chief Justice Weimer is a proud native of Lafourche Parish. He graduated from Thibodaux High School in 1972 and, in 1976, he graduated from Nicholls State University with academic honors. He was honored as a Hall of Fame graduate, and he twice served as student body President. He earned his Juris Doctorate from LSU in 1980.
John Weimer was born in Thibodaux, the eldest of five children. His father was called on to raise his children as a single parent following the death of his wife. John grew up in a modest home, while working in his father’s service station where he learned the value of hard work, the virtue of honesty, and how important it is to treat everyone equally. He worked his way through college and law school as a manual laborer on oil rigs located offshore and on boats plying the rivers, bayous, and Gulf.
John Weimer practiced law in his hometown, served as a mediator, and taught law and ethics classes at Nicholls State University. He also served as director of the Free Enterprise Week Program, where he positively influenced many students who continue today to hold him in high regard. He received the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence and was featured three times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. He has been a long-time member of the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief Justice Weimer formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education. With a passion for civic education, he frequently taught at schools throughout his supreme court district and established and coordinated the Lafourche Parish Student Government Day Program.
During his judicial career, Chief Justice Weimer was honored with the Outstanding Judicial Award from Victims and Citizens Against Crime, the Outstanding Jurist Award from Crimefighters, Inc., and the Common Sense Against Crime Award of Merit. In 2006, Law Dragon, a national publication, named him one of the leading judges in America. He was also recognized for his significant assistance in establishing the Lafourche Parish Drug Treatment Court.
Chief Justice Weimer is an award-winning self-taught amateur painter. He was commissioned to design the posters for the 2005 and 2007 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. His paintings have also appeared on covers of the Louisiana Bar Journal. He has donated works of art that have raised funds for numerous charities, churches, schools, and volunteer fire departments.
Chief Justice Weimer is married to Penny Hymel, a former elementary school teacher, who was born and raised in the River Parishes. They are the parents of three daughters: Jacqueline, Katherine, and Emily.
As a result of COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, the investiture ceremony was livestreamed via the Supreme Court’s website, where it will be available for viewing for several months. Family members and a limited number of invited guests attended the ceremony in person, following strict protocols, such as temperature screening, mask-wearing, and social distancing.
“I am honored to serve as Chief Justice”, commented the new Chief. “I firmly believe that a judge is a public servant who serves by being dedicated to the principles of justice, fairness, independence, and impartiality while applying the law as written by the legislature.”
Chief Justice Weimer’s first act as Chief was to send all Louisiana judges a letter on January 1, 2021, encouraging them to become active teachers: “Judges have a unique opportunity to educate the community about the law and our legal system, and I urge my colleagues on the bench to take advantage of opportunities to teach–especially to teach our young people about respect for the law, personal responsibility, and consequences of inappropriate behavior.”
The Louisiana Constitution provides that the justice with the longest tenure on the supreme court shall be chief justice. Upon the retirement of Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson on December 31, 2020, Justice Weimer became the senior justice on the court and, thus, the Chief Justice. As provided in the Constitution, the Chief Justice serves as the chief administrative officer of the judicial system of the state, subject to rules adopted by the court.