The race for the Louisiana Supreme Court seat could impact the oil and gas industry for years to come, Forbes reports.
15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle and Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge James “Jimmy” Genovese are battling over the seat. The race, however, is interesting because of the identities of who is supporting Genovese’s candidacy and the impacts it could have on the outcome of major lawsuits against the oil and gas industry in the state, Forbes reports.
“Created barely a month ago, the Restore Our Coast PAC has already poured more than $945,000 into the race in support of Genovese,” Forbes reports. “About half that amount came from 41 law firms involved in the coastal erosion cases.”
More than half that amount came from a single firm, Carmouche and Associates, a firm that represents all five of the parishes involved in the lawsuits, Forbes reports. In addition to the PAC spending, which is mostly on TV ads, the Genovese campaign has also received more than $1 million in direct contributions, again largely from plaintiff attorney firms.
Business interests, meanwhile, have contributed more than $500,000 to the Castle campaign, and two pro-business PACs have spent around $700,000 in support of her candidacy as well.
“Much of that money has come from an out-of-state group called The Center for Individual Freedom, a reality that raises controversies of its own. The net result is the most expensive judicial race in Louisiana history,” Forbes reports.
“The conflicts surrounding this race are magnified due to the already high-profile nature of the coastal erosion lawsuits, which enhance the state’s reputation as something of a trial lawyer’s paradise. Like it or not, the Louisiana economy and state budget are both highly reliant on the economic activity, employment and tax revenues generated by the oil and natural gas industry.”