Brady’s senior status opens Baton Rouge federal court for a new judge

U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, of Baton Rouge, notified President Barack Obama’s office Wednesday that he will assume senior status at the end of this year.

By taking senior status, Brady, 69, enables the president to nominate a third full-time judge to the Middle District of Louisiana, which has its headquarters in Baton Rouge.

The other judges are Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson and U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, sworn into office earlier this year.

Judges who take senior status are permitted to shoulder a reduced case load.

Brady said he does not intend to slow down.

“My health is good,” Brady said. “I feel good. Everything is fine. I intend to carry a full docket.”

Following the death of Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson in July 2011, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., recommended Dick for the federal bench.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., blocked her nomination for many months in a dispute with the Obama administration over unrelated matters.

Dick, the first woman to serve as a federal district judge in Baton Rouge, was not sworn in until May.

That was three months after the death of U.S. District Judge Frank J. Polozola, who had taken senior status in 2007.

The deaths of Tyson and Polozola occurred at a time when there was a heavy trial schedule loaded with prosecutions of corrupt public officials and Medicare fraud schemers.

Many Baton Rouge cases had to be handled by judges visiting from New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport.

“The last two years have been horrendous,” said Brady, who emphasized he was speaking of the loss of Tyson and Polozola in addition to the heavier-than-usual case load.

Brady graduated from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1969. He remained in private practice for the next 31 years.

In July 1999, Brady was nominated by President Bill Clinton for a a federal judgeship in Baton Rouge.

He was confirmed by the Senate and sworn into office in May 2000.

The Middle District of Louisiana covers East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, Ascension, Livingston, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes.