2 Baton Rouge area judges drop re-election bids; state law says they are too old to run

Baton Rouge area judges drop re-election bids due to Louisiana age law

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Two well-known judges have withdrawn their names from the November ballot because of a state law that says they are too old to run.

Judges Janice Clark, 73, and Toni Higginbotham, 74, have filed the necessary paperwork with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office to exit the race.

”Although I am sad and disappointed that my service as an elected judge must come to an end based on age, I accept the Supreme Court decision,” Higginbotham told The Advocate newspaper.

Clark on Thursday, July 30, initially vowed to stay in the race and fight the law which she says is discriminatory. But she changed her mind just a few hours later.

Clark, who has served on the bench since 1992, qualified to run for re-election in November, despite the state law that prohibits people over age 70 from seeking an elected judgeship in the state. Last week, the State Supreme Court upheld that state law.

Thursday, the same high court denied Clark’s request that the court reverse its ruling.

Judges who reach 70 while in office are allowed to finish their term. Clark is serving a six-year term that expires at the end of this year.

Two others have qualified to run for Clark’s seat on the 19th Judicial District Court in the November election. They include Dele Adebamiji and Will Jordan. Three people are now left in the race to fill Higginbotham’s seat on the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal including Chris Hester, Melanie N. Jones, and Johanna Landreneau.

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