Tracking Louisiana´s Legal Heritage:
 Celebrating 200 Years of the Federal Courts in Louisiana
 
 

District Judge Jack Murphy Gordon

Jack Murphy Gordon served on the district court bench of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1971, until his death in 1982 at age 51. At the time of his death, Judge Gordon had been nominated to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Judge Gordon was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1931. He received a B.S. from Louisiana State University in 1951 and a J.D. from Louisiana State University Law School in 1954. He practiced law from 1954 to 1971, as a partner in the New Orleans law firm of Phelps, Dunbar, Marks, Claverie & Sims. He also served in the United States Air Force JAG Corps from 1954 to 1956.

On April 14, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon nominated Judge Gordon to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana created by 84 Stat. 294.

One of Judge Gordon’s notable decisions dealt with the First Amendment rights of public employees who choose to comment about matters of possible public interest within the workplace context. In Connick v. Myers,461 U.S. 138 (1983), Judge Gordon found that the firing of an assistant District Attorney in New Orleans had been motivated by a questionnaire she sent to her fellow prosecutors asking about their experience with District Attorney Harry Connick’s (“Connick”) management practices. Judge Gordon ruled that the firing was an infringement on the Assistant District Attorney’s right as a public employee to speak out on matters that intrinsically affect community concern. Connick appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed Judge Gordon’s decision. Connick then sought review by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court reversed the decision in a 5-4 vote, holding that the employee’s First Amendment rights had not been violated. Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983).