Judge Boothe runs for re-election
VIDALIA — Judge Leo Boothe will be watching the results of two ballot items on Election Night in November.
The Seventh Judicial Court’s Division B judge is technically too old to be elected to the bench again.
He’ll be running for re-election this fall, however, on the hope that a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will remove the mandatory retirement age for judges will pass at the same time.
Boothe is 72, and the state’s mandatory retirement age for judges is 70, with the allowance that judges who turn 70 while on the bench can serve out their term.
The Louisiana Legislature adopted a resolution this session that will put a “Yes” or “No” question on the Nov. 4 ballot. The poll question will ask, “Do you support an amendment to remove the constitutional requirement that a judge retire upon attaining the age of seventy or, if his seventieth birthday occurs during his term, that he retire upon completion of that term?”
Boothe is in his fourth term, and said his decision to run is based in part on not feeling ready to retire and the prompting of others.
“I am still healthy and alert, and I am kind of a people person,” he said. “I make myself available 24 hours a day, and I answer the phone for both parishes around the clock.
“The job is not that hard, but making yourself available is the main aspect of it.”
The judge said if he wins the election but the constitutional amendment does not pass, he will have to be sworn in but will be forced to immediately retire.
“The amendment doesn’t have anything to do with qualifications and the ability of a candidate to run,” he said.
Boothe said public polling done last year indicated Louisiana voters favored removing the age limit.
“Unless public opinion has drastically changed in the last year, I anticipate it will pass,” he said.
“A similar bill sailed through both the houses of the legislature last year, but the governor was opposed to it because he didn’t want a statewide initiative because some other stuff would have piggybacked on it,” Boothe said. “He indicated he wasn’t opposed to (the measure) this year.”
Two other candidates, attorneys Jack McLemore and John Reeves, have announced their intentions to seek judicial office, though qualifying won’t be until Aug. 20 to 22.
The division A bench currently occupied by Judge Kathy Johnson is also up for election this year.
The Seventh Judicial District encompasses Concordia and Catahoula parishes.