At the historic investiture of Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson on February 28, 2013, James Williams welcomed over a thousand people who spilled out across Royal Street in the French Quarter. "Welcome to history" said Mr. Williams, sending up cheers and applause from the crowd. Chief Justice Johnson is the first African-American woman to become Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Mr. Williams, the Master of Ceremonies, explained to the crowds why the day was rich in meaning. "If Judge Israel Augustine and Justice Revius Ortique were the Moses generation, then Chief Justice Johnson is the Joshua generation", referring not only to her family name Joshua, but to the biblical Joshua. Judge Augustine was the first African-American district court judge in Louisiana and Justice Ortique was the first African-American man to sit on the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Standing next to the statue of Justice Edward Douglas White, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Carl Stewart administered the oath of office (video here) to Chief Justice Johnson while she was surrounded by her family. Judge Stewart is the first African-American Chief Justice of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Edward Douglas White was the first Louisiana Supreme Court Justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
James Williams is vice-president of the New Orleans Bar Association.