NEW ORLEANS –– It’s not the first time we’ve had someone aboard who carries out the law, but it is the first time we’ve had a jurist. Meet long-time Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese.
Reese was elected to the bench after practicing law for many years, and that experience helped shape how he now conducts his court.
“You gotta do your job. For me, my motto is to try to run the kind of court that I practice law in. And I have been in some courts that I thought I wasn’t treated fairly. And I always wanted people to feel like they’ve been treated fairly, even if I rule against them,” according to Reese.
Some consider Louisiana the lawsuit capital of the world. It’s a charge that Judge Reese does not agree with.
“I think it’s a bad rap for us and a bad rap for Louisiana,” he says. “No matter where you are, you’re going to have disputes, and when you have a legal dispute you have a legal system to redress it. But if you’ve done something or you’ve hurt someone, or you’ve made a bad business deal and you’re being called on the carpet for it, then the folks who scream the loudest are the ones who’ve probably done the most.”
It was a great day on the water, and we even had a chance to talk about something else dear to the judge’s heart, St. Augustine High School. He serves on the school’s board and credits St. Aug with giving him a lot.
“The grounding that I got, the moral compass that I’ve got, the principles that I was taught through religious education that I received, all of that helped to mold my character,” he says, “and more than anything else it taught me not to be afraid. To try things and try to succeed. Don’t be afraid and don’t be afraid to fail.”