Valerie Willard, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Supreme Court, told CNN it could take up to a year to complete an investigation into Tangipahoa Parish Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell's refusal to marry an interracial couple. Bardwell says he won't marry interracial couples, though his refusal appears to apply to black and white couples specifically, out of concern for their children; he also says in his experience, most interracial marriages don't last.
The newlyweds Bardwell refused to marry have asked that he be removed from office, and Gov. Bobby Jindal has asked that his license be revoked (though Bardwell is elected and does not have a license).
But unseating a Louisiana justice of the peace isn't easy, CNN reported.
The state's high court has jurisdiction over whether justices can keep their jobs, Willard said. The Judiciary Commission, a judicial body independent of the Supreme Court, reviews the case and makes recommendations to the high court.
After receiving a complaint, the Judiciary Commission would determine whether the grievance was frivolous. Anyone can file a complaint; no attorney is needed, Willard said, though Beth McKay said she has retained one.
The commission would proceed with an investigation if there were allegations of ethical misconduct, or arguments that the justice of the peace was in violation of professional responsibility, Willard said.
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