Stanwood Duval

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Stanwood R. Duval, Jr.
Stanwood Duval.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Assumed office
December 15, 2008
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
In office
September 29, 1994 – December 15, 2008
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by George Arceneaux, Jr.
Succeeded by Nannette Jolivette Brown
Personal details
Born (1942-02-08) February 8, 1942 (age 73)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Alma mater Louisiana State University (B.A.)
Louisiana State University Law School (LL.B.)

Stanwood Richardson Duval, Jr. (born February 8, 1942),[1] is a U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1994,[2] with his chambers in his native New Orleans.

Judge Duval is best known for having issued an injunction in 2000 which barred the State of Louisiana from issuing "Choose Life" vanity automobile license plates, as the legislature had approved in 1999. Duval ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood of America, which took the view that the choice of displaying the plates violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because there was no alternative display available for supporters of abortion. Judge Duval's opinion was unanimously reversed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on April 13, 2005. A petition for rehearing en banc was filed by the plaintiffs, and it was denied by an eight to eight vote of a divided court.[3] [4] [5]

Early career[edit]

Duval was born to Stanwood Richardson Duval, Sr. (1913–2001), and the former Bonnie Parker Faught. He was reared in Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish, where his father operated a successful insurance business and was prominent in community affairs. He graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, in 1964, and from the LSU law school in 1966. He was in the private practice of law in Houma from 1966 to 1994, when he assumed his seat on the federal bench. Having been confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 28, 1994, Duval succeeded Judge George Arceneaux, Jr., who died in office in 1993. He was also the assistant city attorney of Houma from 1970 to 1972 and the attorney for the consolidated Terrebonne Parish government from 1988 to 1993.[6]

Family connections[edit]

A Democrat, Duval is a nephew of former state Senator Claude Berwick Duval, I, (1914–1986), a conservative Democrat who represented mostly Terrebonne and neighboring St. Mary Parish between 1968 and 1980 and ran unsuccessfully in 1964 for lieutenant governor. Judge Duval's brother, C. Berwick Duval, II (born November 1, 1955), is a prominent Houma attorney.[7]

Other notable events[edit]

The judge became an object of political consideration in the 2003 gubernatorial campaign, when Republican candidate, Bobby L. Jindal, lashed out at "liberal" judges. According to WWL-TV's website: "A campaign mailing by supporters of . . . Jindal has a New Orleans-based federal judge and members of his Houma family seeing red. The literature, though it doesn't specifically name him, labels U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval, II, as a 'left-wing' jurist." [8]

Judge Duval issued rulings in 2005 and 2006 in reference to the constitutional rights of victims of Hurricane Katrina. He extended the time that hurricane evacuees could continue receiving taxpayer-funded hotel stays.[9] In addition to the above Katrina rulings, on November 19, 2009, Judge Duval issued a ruling stating that the Army Corps of Engineers was negligent in maintaining flood protection that resulted in significant flooding during Hurricane Katrina. On March 3, 2012, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Duval's ruling, agreeing that the Corps had failed to maintain the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.[10]

In 2008, Judge Duval assumed senior status. He was succeeded in his position in 2011 by Nannette Jolivette Brown, an appointee of President Barack H. Obama.


Legal offices
Preceded by
George Arceneaux, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Nannette Jolivette Brown