New Orleans, LA – Today, the Louisiana Supreme Court announced that it has appointed retired Justice Edward Joseph Bleich as judge pro tempore of the Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Second Circuit Court of Appeal Chief Judge Felicia Toney Williams, effective October 1, 2020. Retired Justice Bleich, who was unanimously approved by the Supreme Court, will serve October 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021 or until the vacancy is filled, whichever occurs sooner.

Chief Judge Felicia Toney Williams was the first African American to serve as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal, Second Circuit. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern University of Baton Rouge in 1977 and her juris doctor from Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge, LA in 1980. Following graduation, she served as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice, after which she worked as an attorney at Central Louisiana Legal Services and a central staff law clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court. She later worked as Madison Parish Assistant District Attorney, and as a Partner at Williams and Williams, APLC. She was elected as 6th Judicial District Court Judge, Division B in 1991 where she served until her election to the Court of Appeal, Second Circuit bench in 1993. In 1994 she served as Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice pro tempore.

“Chief Judge Williams exemplifies commitment to justice evidenced by her impeccable 30 year career in the judiciary,” said Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, “her service on the bench has provided a beacon for her successors and she will certainly be missed.” Associate Justice Scott J. Crichton commented, “It has been my experience to witness her dedication to the rule of law. She is to be commended for her years of service. We additionally express our thanks to retired Justice Bleich for his willingness to serve.”

Retired Justice Edward Joseph Bleich was elected to the 3rd Judicial District Court, Division B in 1985 and reelected without opposition in 1991. Pursuant to order of the Louisiana Supreme Court, retired Justice Bleich has previously served on the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in a pro tempore capacity on three previous occasions.

For more information contact Louisiana Supreme Court Public Information Specialist/Coordinator Trina S. Vincent at (504) 310-2590.


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