James E. Bolin

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James Edwin Bolin, Sr.
Judge James E. Bolin of Louisiana.jpg
Louisiana State Representative for Webster Parish
In office
Preceded by Drayton R. Boucher
Succeeded by C.W. Thompson
District Attorney, 26th Judicial District of Louisiana
In office
December 14, 1948 – December 31, 1952
Preceded by Arthur M. Wallace
Succeeded by Louis H. Padgett, Jr.
Judge, 26th Judicial District Court of Louisiana
In office
October 1, 1952 – 1960
Preceded by J. Frank McInnis
Succeeded by Two judgeships:

O. E. Price
Enos C. McClendon, Jr.

Judge, Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal
In office
Preceded by New position
Personal details
Born (1914-08-26)August 26, 1914
Doyline, Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died March 25, 2002(2002-03-25) (aged 87)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Eloise Martin Bolin (1913-2007; married, 1937-his death)
Children James Bolin, Jr.

Bruce M. Bolin
Beth Bolin Falk
Becky Bolin Maupin

Residence Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater Minden High School

Louisiana State University Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Attorney
(1) Bolin and his son, Bruce M. Bolin, held the positions of Louisiana state representative and judge of the 26th Judicial Court – thirty-eight years apart.

(2) Bolin, who obtained a Bronze Star in the United States Army, was among several Louisiana state legislators who left their posts for military duty during World War II.

James Edwin Bolin, Sr. (August 26, 1914 – March 25, 2002[1]), was an American jurist and politician who served as a judge of the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court. He was a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.


Bolin was one of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Bolin in the village of Doyline in south Webster Parish. E. H. Bolin was a member of the Webster Parish School Board and the subject of a biographical sketch in North Louisiana History.[2] Bolin attended school in Doyline and later transferred to Minden, where he graduated as the class president in 1931 from Minden High School. His name was misspelled "Bolen" on the graduation program.[3] Bolin then procured his undergraduate degree in 1935 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He obtained his legal degree from the LSU Law Center in 1937 and maintained a private practice in Minden from 1937 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1952. For a time in the late 1980s, Bolin practiced law in Minden—estates, divorces, and automobile accident claims, primarily—with his younger son, Bruce M. Bolin, who later moved to Bossier City.[4]

In 1937, Bolin wed his Minden High School classmate, the former Mary Eloise Martin (October 30, 1913 – September 20, 2007).[1] She was a former high school English teacher and a 1935 graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. The Bolins had two daughters, Beth Bolin Falk and Becky Bolin Maupin, and two lawyer sons, James E. Bolin, Jr. (born September 10, 1941) of Shreveport[5] and Bruce Bolin.[6]

Legislator and soldier[edit]

Bolin served in the state House during the administration of Governor Sam Houston Jones, who in 1940 proposed the creation of a state crime commission, which consisted of the governor, his executive counsel, and the state attorney general. With a $1 million appropriation, the agency was commissioned to pursue those who had stolen state funds or property. Jones suggested that up to $4 million might be recovered. Bolin sought to reduce the appropriation to $250,000. State Senator Lloyd Hendrick of Shreveport wanted to establish a legislative commission, rather than an executive body. Nevertheless, the measure easily passed both houses and was signed into law. A few lawmakers loyal to then former Governor Earl Kemp Long charged that the commission gave too much power to the governor and was "tyrannical" in nature. They successfully sued, and the Louisiana Supreme Court declared the Jones commission unconstitutional.[7]

From 1942 to 1946, while still a state representative for two years remaining in his term, Bolin served in the European Theatre of World War II, including England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. He received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the French Croix de Guerre, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the European Theater of Operations Ribbon, with four battle stars.[8] After the war, he served with the prosecution team at the historic war crime trials at Nuremberg, Germany.[9][10]

Bolin while overseas in war did not seek reelection to the Louisiana House and was succeeded by C. W. Thompson of Doyline, then the president of the Webster Parish School Board. Thompson ran unopposed in 1944 for Bolin's seat. Bolin practiced law in Minden prior to his military service and from 1946 to 1948 in Springhill in northern Webster Parish.[8]

Judicial career[edit]

From December 14, 1948, to December 31, 1952, Bolin served as the district attorney for Webster and Bossier parishes.[11] In the DA race, Bolin defeated Bossier Parish attorney and later state representative Ford E. Stinson, 6,432 to 5,618. His margin of victory came from his own Webster Parish[12] Bolin was known for the prosecution of gambling and racketeering.[13] In September 1952, Bolin was elected to the 26th Judicial District Court bench and reelected without opposition in 1954. That same year, he sentenced Minden Mayor John T. David to 120 days on the Webster Parish Penal Farm for two bootlegging misdemeanors. The convictions were upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court.[14] Bolin left the district judgeship in 1960, when he was subsequently elected to a new seat on the 20-parish Second Circuit Court of Appeal, where he served until his retirement in 1978.[10]

On May 12, 1964, Judge Bolin was invited to Baton Rouge to administer the oath of office to incoming Governor John McKeithen; C. H. "Sammy" Downs, a former state senator from Rapides Parish and an aide and advisor to McKeithen, was the master of ceremonies for the festivities.[15]

His younger son, Bruce Bolin, served in the same Louisiana House seat which Bolin had previously held. Bruce Bolin was a representative from 1978, when he won a special election to succeed the retiring R. Harmon Drew, Sr., until 1990, when he resigned from the House to begin his tenure in the same district court judgeship previously held by his father.

Judge Bolin opposed antiwar demonstrators at the height of the Vietnam War. In an address before a civic group entitled "The Spirit of Rebellion", the judge decried the breakdown in law and order across the nation stemming in part from discontent over the controversial war.[16]Bolin's social commentary was echoed by another state circuit appeal judge, George W. Hardy, Jr., a former mayor of Shreveport. In a 1964 speech before the Shreveport Bar Association, Hardy similarly warned against "extremist" individuals and groups who would thwart the processes of law and endanger the well-being of the nation.[17]


In 1975, U.S. Representative Joe Waggonner of Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish, urged then U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., to nominate Judge Bolin to the United States Supreme Court. Waggonner said that his fellow Louisianan exhibited the "highest degree of judicial excellence." Ford, however, tapped Chicago jurist John Paul Stevens for the seat vacated by William O. Douglas.[18]

In 1986, Bolin was honored by the Louisiana House for his service more than four decades earlier. One of his House colleagues, Bill Dodd, a former lieutenant governor and state superintendent of education, praised the judge, accordingly:

[Judge Bolin as a legislator] sponsored and supported legislation for civil service, public bid laws, voting machines, creation of a wildlife and fisheries department, an independent forestry service, dedication of severance taxes to public schools, and the de-politicalization of the LSU Board of Supervisors.[19]

Bolin died in 2002 at the age of eighty-seven in an assisted living facility in Shreveport. He is honored through the naming of Bolin Hall at the Louisiana Army National Guard installation at Camp Minden, formerly part of the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Social Security Death Index
  2. ^ John Ardis Cawthon, Louisiana Tech University, "E. H. Bolin: School Man of Webster Parish", North Louisiana History, Vol. 15 (No. 1), 1984, pp. 41-48; the article was published only a few months before Professor Cawthon's death.
  3. ^ Minden High School, 1931 yearbook, Minden, Louisiana
  4. ^ Minden Press-Herald, December 30, 1986, p. 4
  5. ^ James E. Bolin Jr. - a Shreveport, Louisiana (LA) Personal Injury - Defense Lawyer
  6. ^ Minden Press-Herald: http://www.nwlanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5822&Itemid=33
  7. ^ Jerry Purvis Sanson. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. 1999. pp. 60–62. ISBN 0-8071-2308-0. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "James E. Bolin Announces for District Attorney", Minden Herald, July 16, 1948, p. 1
  9. ^ "House Concurrent Resolution No. 211 of the 2005 Regular Session by Representatives Billy Montgomery] and Jean Doerge and Senator Robert Adley". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "In Memoriam: James Bolin". lasc.org. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ Respect for the Past: Webster Parish Centennial, 1971, Webster Parish School Board, pages unnumbered
  12. ^ "J. E. Bolin Named District Attorney for 26th District: Former Minden Resident Defeats Bossier Native in Primary on Tuesday", Minden Herald, September 3, 1948, p.1
  13. ^ Minden Press, December 1, 1958
  14. ^ Minden Herald, February 24, 1955, p. 1
  15. ^ ""Inauguration Plans Revealed: McKeithen will take office May 12", April 9, 1964". Newspaper clipping, Judge Edmund M. Reggie Family Archives. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Bolin Civitan Guest", Minden Press-Herald, September 17, 1969, p. 1
  17. ^ "Appeal court judge, former mayor dies". Shreveport Journal. July 17, 1967. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ Minden Press-Herald, November 18, 1975, p. 1
  19. ^ "Lawmakers honor Bolin", Minden Press-Herald, October 19, 1986, p. 1
  20. ^ "Louisiana Guard honors memory of leader, WWII veteran". dvidshub.net. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Drayton R. Boucher
Louisiana State Representative for Webster Parish
Succeeded by
C.W. Thompson
Preceded by
Arthur M. Wallace
District Attorney for Bossier and Webster parishes, Louisiana
Succeeded by
Louis H. Padgett, Jr.
Preceded by
J. Frank McInnis
Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court Judge for Bossier and Webster parishes
Succeeded by
Two judgeships:

O. E. Price
Enos C. McClendon, Jr.