The Louisiana Supreme Court will not rule on the constitutionality of the 1009 process in the Barber case due to a procedural issue with 19th JDC Judge Johnson’s initial decision. The Supreme Court gave the following explanation for its inaction in a release:
“We find the constitutional issue was not properly raised in district court. The district court considered plaintiffs’ allegations of unconstitutionality in the context of a hearing on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. It is well settled that a court may not declare a statute unconstitutional in the context of a summary proceeding such as a preliminary hearing […] In the instant case, the July 30, 2015 judgment indicates the case came before the court for a hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction filed by plaintiffs. The record does not suggest the parties agreed to try the declaratory action at this hearing. As a result, the constitutional issue was not properly postured for resolution […] we lack appellate jurisdiction over this case.”
Additionally, the Supreme Court notes that, although Judge Johnson did discuss constitutionality in his first ruling back in June, that document is understood to be “reasons for judgment rather than an actual judgment.” In essence, this means that the appellate court will review the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Johnson in order to provide some formal determination as to the constitutionality of the system. From there, the Supreme Court would be able to take on the issue. At stake for the coming weeks is the potential for the 1009 process to be enjoined until the question is settled.