James J. Brady

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James Joseph "Jim" Brady

Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
December 31, 2013 – December 9, 2017

Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
May 25, 2000 – December 31, 2013
Preceded by John Victor Parker
Succeeded by John Wheadon deGravelles

Born February 29, 1944
St. Louis, Missouri
Died December 9, 2017 (aged 73)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
(Former state party chairman)
Spouse(s) Karen Nix Brady (married 1967-2017, his death)

James Sean Brady
Kathleen Melissa Stimpert
Two grandsons
Parents: Robert and Arlene Brady

Residence Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Alma mater Covington (Louisiana) High School

Southeastern Louisiana University
Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Lawyer and Judge
Religion Baptist

James Joseph Brady, known as Jim Brady (February 29, 1944 – December 9, 2017), was a United States District Judge based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Appointed to the bench in 1999 by his fellow Democrat, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Brady was confirmed by the United States Senate in 2000.


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Brady was the second of four sons of Robert and Arlene Brady. In 1950, his father moved the family to Venezuela to accept a position as a dredging engineer for the Orinoco Mining Company. Six years later, the Bradys relocated to Covington in St. Tammany Parish in suburban New Orleans. He graduated in 1962 from Covington High School, at which he was the student council president. He received a degree in history in 1966 from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish. He letter for four years in track at Southeastern and was the student body president in his senior year. In 1969, he received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center, in Baton Rouge, at which he was again the student body president.[1]


Brady began the private practice of law in 1969 and continued in that capacity until he became a federal judge thirty-one years later. He was a charter member of the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame. In 2018, he will receive posthumous recognition as the "Outstanding Jurist" from the Louisiana Bar Foundation.[1]

In 1971, Brady was elected to the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee of Louisiana. He was elected vice chairman of his party; in 1985, he became the state Democratic chairman. He was re-elected chairman in 1987 and 1991. He was a member of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, of which he was elected the president in 1991, 1993, and 1995, He was designated as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.. In 1974, he was a delegate to the DNC's National Mid-Term Conference, a meeting no longer held. Brady was a delegate to each Democratic National Convention from 1980 to 1996.He was a board member of the Federal Judges Association and the president of the 5th Circuit District Judges Association.[1]

From 1975 to 1980, he was a member of the Louisiana Board of Tax appeals during the administration of Governor Edwin Edwards. He was an adjunct professor at LSU in 1985, 1987 and 1990.[2]

For nearly a quarter century, Brady was partner in the firm headed by Camille Francis Gravel, Jr., with offices in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. In 1993, he joined the Dyer, Ellis, Joseph & Mills firm in Washington, D.C.. In 1996, he became a resident director in Baton Rouge of the New Orleans firm of Sullivan, Stolier & Daigle. He later joined still another firm, Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan in Baton Rouge.[1]

In 1986, Brady was the general counsel in the successful campaign to nominate John Breaux as the successor to U.S. Senator Russell Long. In 1992, Brady pushed the Democratic chairs to endorse Arkansas Govenor Bill Clinton prior to the critical presidential primary in New Hampshire, in which Clinton finished in second place. Seven years later, on July 14, 1999, President Clinton rewarded Brady by naming him to fill the vacancy left by John Victor Parker on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. On the court, Judge Brady settled the longstanding school desegregation suit against the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. After more than thirteen years as a judge, he assumed senior status but still handled 90 percent of the cases of a full-time judge.[3]

Death and legacy

Brady and his wife, the former Karen Nix (born October 30, 1945), whom he wed in 1967, have a son, James Sean Brady (wife Ashley) of College Station, Texas, and a daughter, Kathleen Melissa Stimpert (husband Richard) of Austin, Texas. He died in a Baton Rouge hospital of a brief illness at the age of seventy-three. Memorial services were held at University Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.[1]

Brady's obituary indicates that he "deeply cared for people, was kind to everyone he met and did his best to live the Golden Rule. Jim dedicated his life to caring for those Jesus called "the least of these." He believed in justice for all, regardless of wealth, power or position. He believed that whether prince or pauper, in his court you were equal in the eyes of the law. He was, as friends and family called him, 'Atticus Finch in the flesh.'"[1]

Prior to his death, Brady was scheduled to preside over a case of a private detective, Jordan Hamlett of Lafayette, indicted for attempting to steal the undisclosed tax returns of U.S. President Donald Trump. Jury selection was to have begun two days after the judge's passing.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Judge James J. "Jim" Brady. The Baton Rouge Advocate (December 11, 2017). Retrieved on February 6, 2018.
  2. Brady, James J.. Fjc.gov. Retrieved on February 6, 2018.
  3. Emma Discher (December 9, 2017). Federal District Judge James J. Brady dies; settle longstanding Baton Rouge desegregation case. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on February 6, 2018.
  4. Judge dies days before trial involving Trump tax returns. Fox 32 Chicago (December 9, 2017). Retrieved on February 6, 2018.