James L. Dennis

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James L. Dennis
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Assumed office
October 2, 1995
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Charles Clark
Personal details
Born (1936-01-09) January 9, 1936 (age 82)
Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children Stephen, Greg, Mark, and John Timothy Dennis
Alma mater Louisiana Tech University, Ruston
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
University of Virginia

James L. Dennis (born January 9, 1936) is a United States federal judge currently serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, with chambers New Orleans, Louisiana.

Born in Monroe in Ouachita Parish to Jenner Leon Dennis (1901-1970) and the former Hope Taylo, Dennis served in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957 and is affiliated with the American Legion. In 1959, he received a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. In 1962, he obtained a Juris Doctor from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge. Much later in 1984, he procured an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was named to the Order of the Coif.[1] From 1962 to 1972, he was in private practice with the law firm of Hudson, Potts & Bernstein in Monroe, Louisiana. He served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 1972. He was succeeded in that position by his fellow Democrat, later Republican, John C. Ensminger, a Monroe businessman.

Dennis became a judge on the Fourth Judicial District Court of Louisiana, based in Monroe and served for two years from 1972 to 1974. He then served on the Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit, based in Shreveport, from 1974 to 1975. From 1975 to 1995, he was an associate justice of the seven-member Supreme Court of Louisiana.

On January 31, 1995, Dennis was nominated by U.S. President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated by Charles Clark. Dennis was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 28, 1995, and received his commission on October 2, 1995.

Dennis was one of three judges on a panel that heard the appeal to Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar, a case challenging the U.S. Department of the Interior six month moratorium on exploratory drilling in deep water that was adopted in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the subsequent oil spill. The Fifth Circuit panel denied the government's emergency request to stay the lower court's decision pending appeal.[2]


  1. "Louisiana: James L. Dennis", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 656
  2. Pelofsky, Jeremy.; Doggett, Tom. Court refuses stay in deepwater drilling case. Reuters Canada. July 8, 2010.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Clark
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit