Carl E. Stewart is an American Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994. Previously, Stewart sat on Louisiana's Second Court of Appeal, and had served as an accomplished judge, attorney, prosecutor and professor. His vast trial experience includes work in civil rights, loan sharking, election fraud, embezzlement and school desegregation. Stewart, who has been honored by many groups for his outstanding commitment to community service, is the first African-American ever to serve on the Fifth Circuit as it is currently constituted.
Stewart was born to Corine and Richard Stewart, a postal worker, in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1950. As a teenager in the 1960's, Stewart witnessed the civil rights struggle of the era, and saw how the legal system could be used to bring about positive social change. Stewart was inspired by what he saw and decided to dedicate his life to helping people through the legal system. He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans cum laude in 1971 and earned his law degree from Loyola University in 1974.
Later in 1974, Stewart entered the U.S. Army in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. As a captain, he served as a defense attorney for soldiers at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. After an honorable discharge, Stewart worked as an associate in a small private law firm. He joined a field office of the Louisiana Attorney General in 1978.
In 1979, Stewart became an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and worked on a wide variety of cases. He prosecuted a loan shark who preyed on the poor, a sheriff who paid for votes during a reelection bid, and an unscrupulous land owner who filed false flood relief claims with the federal government. Stewart received a letter of commendation from the Justice Department for his work on a civil rights case in 1982 and 1983.
Stewart left the Justice Department in 1983 to go into private practice in Shreveport, and work as an Adjunct Professor at Louisiana State University. In 1985, he won election to a six year term as a District Judge in Louisiana. At the conclusion of the term, Stewart was elected to his present position on the state's Second Circuit Court of Appeal.
In 1989, Stewart was praised for his judicial performance. The Shreveport Journal, which sponsored the survey of judges, declared that Stewart had "nearly swept the ratings." One local attorney described Stewart as "a splendid judge, excellent in every respect." Other attorneys lauded his "fine judicial manner," his fairness and concern for "judicial economy." Stewart, one attorney said, "is careful to treat all parties with the same attitude and concern."
Honors & Public Speaking
Throughout his career, Stewart has been active in a wide array of professional and community organizations. He has been honored with awards from the Boy Scouts of America and the Carver Branch YMCA. Stewart also was named Louisiana Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Louisiana Chapter of the Jaycees and won the Black Leader of the Year award from the Southern University Shreveport-Bossier Afro-American Society.
Stewart frequently addresses student and professional groups, emphasizing the importance of educational achievement and community service, and the need for African-American role models in business and public service. Stewart is also a lay leader of the Louisiana United Methodist Conference.
Stewart has been married since 1973 to Jo Ann Southall Stewart, a registered nurse who works with school children who have substance abuse problems. They have three children. Stewart's two brothers also are distinguished attorneys: Captain Richard G. Stewart, Jr., is a Force Judge Advocate in the U.S. Navy, and Judge James E. Stewart, Sr., serves on Louisiana's District Court.
Stewart would be a likely nominee for the Supreme Court if a Democrat were to be President when a position became available.
- White House press release (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/archives/whitehouse_papers/1994/Jan/1994_01_27_President_Nominates_Ten_Federal_Judges)