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Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry accuses judge who ruled against him of sexism

Greg Hilburn
Monroe News-Star
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks on the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Monroe, La. on Feb. 25 during a press conference addressing the drop in violent crimes in the city.

Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is accusing a state judge of practicing sexism during a hearing last week in which a law designed to overturn Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' COVID restrictions was deemed unconstitutional.

Ninteenth Judicial District Judge William Morvant, who is also a Republican, ruled that a GOP House petition to spike Edwards' public emergency order needed support from both Legislative chambers to follow the Louisiana Constitution.

19th Judicial District Judge William Morvant

Landry's team was led by attorneys Angelique Freel and Liz Murrill in a losing effort.

In a video posted late Friday, the attorney general said Morvant conducted the hearing "while repeatedly showing disdain for the female attorneys in the Louisiana Department of Justice while giving greater deference to the men representing the governor."

Morvant was critical of the attorney general's office during the hearing for posting what he considered late filings on the morning of Thursday's hearing after the judge said he implored both sides to handle their business on a more timely basis.

"That's what this Baton Rouge judge has come to expect from the attorney general's office," he said while addressing Murrill.

Morvant twice told Freel: "I apologize for talking while you're interrupting Ms. Freel."

USA Today Network is seeking comment from Morvant.

Landry said he will appeal the ruling, saying Morvant's decision "effectively ruled the governor may make law without any legislative oversight — this turns Louisiana into a dictatorship under King Edwards."

More:State judge sides with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on COVID restrictions

On the video, which Landry posted on his campaign Facebook page, the attorney general also said Morvant and other judges should be subject to the same public scrutiny and criticism of other politicians. District judges are elected in Louisiana.

"If the courts continue ... to engage in writing law they should recognize they will be open to the vast public criticism that those in the legislative branch of government must face," Landry said.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.