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James E Bolin

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Preceded by  Drayton R. Boucher
Preceded by  J. Frank McInnis

Preceded by  Arthur M. Wallace
Succeeded by  C.W. Thompson
Name  James Bolin
James E. Bolin
Succeeded by  Two judgeships: O. E. Price Enos C. McClendon, Jr.

Succeeded by  Louis H. Padgett, Jr.

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



Bolin was one of ten children, most of whom attended college, born to Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Bolin in Doyline, Louisiana. E. H. Bolin was an insurance agent. He attended school in Doyline and later transferred to Minden and attended Minden High School. His name was misspelled "Bolen" on the graduation program. He got his undergraduate degree in 1935 from Louisiana State University and his legal degree from the LSU Law Center in 1937. He 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 with his younger son, Bruce M. Bolin.

In 1937, Bolin wed his Minden High School classmate, the former Mary Eloise Martin (October 30, 1913 – September 20, 2007), a 1935 graduate of Louisiana Tech University and high school English .. The Bolins had two daughters and another lawyer son.

Legislator and soldier

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.

Bolin was elected state representative when the one-term incumbent, Drayton Boucher of Springhill, ran successfully for the Louisiana State Senate. In the legislative runoff election, Bolin defeated former representative and Minden mayor J. Frank Colbert, 3,161 (57.3 percent) to 2,358 (42.7 percent). Eliminated in the primary election were Dewey E. Moore (1899-1977), then of Sarepta and later Springhill, John Edmond Perryman (1874-1962) of Dubberly and Guy Wilburn Harkness (1906-1991) of Sibley, an educator who later taught eighth grade mathematics when the former Lowe Junior High School opened in Minden in 1960.

From 1942 to 1946, while still a state representative for two years remaining in his term, Bolin reported for training in rifles and heavy weapons to Fort Benning, Georgia. He served in the European Theater of Operations 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. After the war, he served with the prosecution team at the historic war crime trials at Nuremberg, Germany.

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.

Judicial career

From December 14, 1948, to October 1, 1952, Bolin served as the district attorney for Webster and Bossier parishes. 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. Bolin was known for the prosecution of gambling and racketeering. In September 1952, Bolin won a special election to the 26th Judicial District Court bench. He was reelected without opposition in 1954.

In 1956, Bolin defeated State Representative E. D. Gleason of Webster Parish, 2,503 to 912, for a seat at the proposed state constitutional convention. Because voters statewide rejected the calling of the convention, the election was moot.

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.

From April 1975 until his retirement in 1978, Bolin was the chief judge of the appeals court, having succeeded H. Welborn Ayres, who retired.


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.

In 1986, Bolin was honored by the Louisiana House for his service more than four decades earlier.

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.


James E. Bolin Wikipedia

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