Judge John V. Parker, 85, oversaw divisive La. schools desegregation lawsuit

Written By By ASSOCIATED PRESS | By ASSOCIATED PRESS Posted: 08/20/2014, 12:19am

BATON ROUGE, La. — U.S. District Judge John V. Parker, who had been a senior judge in Louisiana’s Middle District since 1998, has died. He was 85.

Clerk of Court Michael McConnell on Tuesday confirmed that Mr. Parker died Monday.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter nominated Mr. Parker for the federal bench. He served as chief judge from then until 1998, when he took senior status.

Mr. Parker is likely best known for overseeing a divisive East Baton Rouge Parish schools desegregation lawsuit filed in 1956 on behalf of 37 black children. The lawsuit officially ended in 2007.

“I inherited that case from him,” recalled U.S. District Judge James A. Brady, Parker’s successor. “Now, I’m not defending him, but he was much maligned for some of the rulings made in that case when all he did was apply the law. People just didn’t understand that. When I got the case, some of the parties involved felt I might give a different bent, but I told them Judge Parker followed the law and so will I. He just did what was required of him.”

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