A. J. McNamara

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A. J. McNamara
Judge A. J. McNamara of LA.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
In office
June 21, 1982 – June 9, 2001
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Edward James Boyle, Sr.
Succeeded by Jay Zainey
Louisiana State Representative for Jefferson Parish
In office
Personal details
Born Abel John McNamara
June 9, 1936
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died December 2, 2014(2014-12-02) (aged 78)
Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.
Cause of death Progressive supranuclear palsy
Resting place Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans
Political party Democratic-turned-Republican (1977)
Spouse(s) Alma J. (née Loisel) McNamara
Children Four children
Parents Henry D. and Ruby (née Price) McNamara
Residence Metairie, Louisiana
Alma mater

Jesuit High School

Louisiana State University
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Occupation Attorney; retired judge; former engineer
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy (1959-1962)

Abel John McNamara (June 9, 1936 – December 2, 2014), was a Louisiana state representative from 1976 to 1980 and judge of the New Orleans-based United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, who served full-time from June 21, 1982, until the fall of 2001, when he assumed senior status.[1]


McNamara, a son of Henry D. and Ruby (née Price) McNamara, graduated in 1954 from the Roman Catholic Jesuit High School in his native New Orleans. In 1959, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In 1968 he received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University College of Law.[1]

McNamara served in the United States Navy from 1959-62. From 1966-68, while in law school he was a bailiff and law clerk for U.S. District Judge Herbert W. Christenberry of the same court on which McNamara served. He maintained a private law practice from 1968-82.[1]

In 1976, he joined three other attorneys in forming the partnership Hailey, McNamara, McNamara, and Hall. The name was changed to Hailey, McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale in 1982, when A. J. McNamara was appointed to the district judgeship. The firm is the largest in Jefferson Parish and one of the largest litigation operations in metropolitan New Orleans.[1]

Political life[edit]

While practicing law, McNamara served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from populous Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans. Elected in the first-ever nonpartisan blanket primary, also called the jungle primary of 1975, he was a Democratic representative from 1976 to 1977, and a Republican convert from 1977 to 1980. He did not seek reelection in the 1979 primary.[2]

In 1976, as a Democrat, McNamara cast a critical vote against the Equal Rights Amendment in the House Civil Law Committee. The unfavorable committee vote effectively killed the prospects of ratifying the amendment for the second time in Louisiana.

In the 105-member Louisiana House, McNamara served with six other Republicans at the time: Clark Gaudin of Baton Rouge, three Caddo Parish members, Art Sour, B.F. O'Neal, Jr., and Bruce Lynn, and two converts to GOP, Michael F. "Mike" Thompson of Lafayette, and Lane Carson of New Orleans.

In 1980, McNamara supported the Ronald W. Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush national ticket. President Reagan thereafter nominated McNamara for the bench on May 5, 1982, for the seat vacated by Judge Edward James Boyle, Sr., and the U.S. Senate quickly confirmed him.

McNamara was succeeded full-time on the court by Judge Jay Zainey (born 1951), a nominee of President George W. Bush, who was confirmed on October 10, 2001.

Private life[edit]

McNamara resided in Metairie, Louisiana with his wife, the former Alma J. Loisel. The couple had two sons, John Price McNamara and Dwight Loisel McNamara (1967-2005), and two daughters, Joni McNamara Parent and Nancy Ann McNamara Miller (died 2014).[3]

McNamara died at his home of progressive supranuclear palsy in 2014. He was interred on December 6 at Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Retired U.S. District Court Judge A.J. "Buddy" McNamara, 78, died Tuesday". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016: Jefferson Parish" (PDF). legis.la.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Hon. Abel John "Buddy" McNamara Obituary". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 


Legal offices
Preceded by
Edward James Boyle, Sr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Jay C. Zainey