Kimball retires from court

Chief Justice Catherine D. “Kitty” Kimball retired Thursday after a 20-year career on the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Kimball held the District 5 seat on the high court for 16 of those years.

She became the first woman to take the oath of chief justice in January 2009.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such dedicated and hard-working judges these past 30 years,” Kimball said in a written statement.

Kimball is a member of the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame, LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction and the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame.

On Friday, Justice Bernette Johnson is scheduled to be sworn in as the first African-American chief justice in Supreme Court history.

Judge Jeff Hughes is scheduled to take the oath of office as the first Republican associate justice elected from District 5.

Hughes also is scheduled to appear at a larger ceremony Feb. 24 at the Suma Community Center in the Livingston Parish town of Satsuma.

Johnson is scheduled to appear at a second ceremony Feb. 28 at the Supreme Court in New Orleans.

District 5 includes the parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Livingston, Ascension, Iberville and Pointe Coupee.

The retiring justice earned her law degree from LSU in 1970.

She worked in private practice for several years before serving as an assistant district attorney in the 18th Judicial District from 1978 until 1982.

From 1982 until 1992, Kimball served as a judge of the 18th Judicial District.

She was chief judge of the district her last two years on that bench.