National Bar Association, 1225 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
June 23, 2008
National Bar Association Mourns The Death Of Justice Revius Oliver Ortique, Jr.
The National Bar Association (NBA) mourns the death of Justice Revius Oliver Ortique,
Jr., the first African American elected to the Supreme Court in Louisiana. Justice
Ortique was the 24th President of the NBA, serving from 1965 to 1967. He received
many honors from the NBA, including its highest Award, the C. Francis Stradford Award.
He was the last NBA President to serve two terms. NBA President Vanita Banks stated:
"We have lost a great civil rights icon, peacemaker, and dear friend who will be
sorely missed". On October 14, 1966, during his term as NBA President, Ortique and
other NBA leaders met with President Lyndon Baines Johnson at the White House to
discuss civil rights issues.
Justice Ortique was born on June 14, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A veteran of
World War II, Ortique earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Dillard University
in 1947 and his M.A. degree from the University of Indiana in 1949. In 1956, Ortique
earned his J.D. degree from Southern University.
When Ortique began his own private law practice in 1956, he worked on any type of
case but focused primarily on estate cases. His practice became one of the largest
estate practices in the State of Louisiana. As President of the Community Relations
Council, Ortique served as "chief negotiator" for the peaceful desegregation of lunch
counters, hotels and other public facilities in New Orleans.
President Lyndon Johnson named Ortique to the Federal Hospital Council in 1966. In
1970, in the wake of killings by national guardsmen at Kent State University and
Jackson State University, President Richard Nixon asked Ortique to serve on the President's
Commission on Campus Unrest. In 1974, President Nixon appointed Ortique to serve
on the newly created Legal Services Corporation, a private, non-profit corporation
established by the U.S. Congress to seek to ensure equal access to the criminal justice
system by providing civil legal assistance to those who were unable to afford it.
That same year, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed Ortique as a judge pro tempore
of Orleans Parish Civil District Court.
In 1979, the citizens of New Orleans elected him Judge of the Orleans Parish Civil
District Court. Ortique was later elected Chief Judge of the Orleans Parish Civil
District Court by his fellow jurists. Over the years, his work with the Louisiana
State Bar Association's Legal Aid Committee provided a model for pro bono legal work.
Ortique was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1992. He retired from that
position in 1994. In addition, Ortique served as the president of the New Orleans
Urban League and was named an alternate to the United Nations General Assembly by
President Clinton in 1999.