Friday, March 17, 2017


My friend James Doyle has been given the gift of a successful organ transplant.  His response is gratitude. When twenty years ago I survived a life threatening health crisis I picked up a book by a monk titled gratefulness is the heart of prayer. So it is.  Regardless of how we believe it all came about we should be grateful for the miracle of life - and sympathetic to those who suffer - especially the victims of war and natural disasters and the disabled - who have the least ability to avoid or mitigate their suffering.

James and I became friends in 1991.  I was reporting on an important civil rights case in the United States Supreme Court on January 15 - Martin Luther King's birthday.  I sat in the press gallery as Jim argued the cause.  In a brilliant peroration he spoke not on behalf of his client - but rather emphasized the rights of the two excluded African American jurors.  I ran out the door and met him on the front steps of the Court.  I asked him for a copy of his speech.  He tore it off a yellow legal pad and handed it to me. I wrote it up for the New Jersey Law Journal.
But there was a more important listener than me: Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy - who wrote the majority opinion ruling in James' client's favor. The Justice in an address to the American Bar Association cited James's argument as a reminder that judges must ask not merely what the law has been but what it should be.

Below is Jim's Facebook post one day after the life-saving surgery.
Amazing. Today, our Secretary of State threatened military action; our President had a tense meeting with one powerful ally and his press secretary refused to apologize to our second most; and I have nothing political to say! My Facebook friends are ALL giving, smart, spiritual in their own way, loving, and extremely good at high level debate when called for. I single out Steve Hale from Bolivar, my hometown ( or Milan); my dear mate Nick Brown and his wonderful family from Florida, by way of Kent; Jim Serra, The Godfather with a kindly eye, a cockatoo with a fu Manchu, and a great palate; Gorgeous Greta Painter and Sweet Clara Jane, my biggest fans; my two Lake Chuck wives, Susan and Cindy, who still love me and are a great help; Liz and Dick Linam, my permanent in-law's; and cousins, ex-cousins, brothers from another mother, objects of my intense flirting, assorted lawyers, judges, and District Attorney John DeRosier, and many many other good friends, especially men who have no qualms about saying they love me. Of course, my children, mothers of my seven grandchildren, brother Thomas and sis Nancy and their all-time great extended family, and my late brother Winston's large and loving group. And especially my rock, Harrison Buckner Doyle, who has kept me alive. And my son Sean Robert Broussard, also a rock. And everybody else in my wonderful life. You ALL got me through the worst time of my life. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you on the flip. AND I LOVE ALL YALL!!!!!!!!

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