Monroe, Louisiana , United States
|| October 12, 1945
Jul 12, 2010 06:00pm
|Info||Chet D. Traylor (born October 12, 1945) is a retired associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court from Monroe, Louisiana, who is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in the primary election scheduled for August 28, 2010. He opposes the incumbent David Vitter of New Orleans. |
Traylor was born in Columbia, the seat of Caldwell Parish, and graduated in 1963 from Caldwell Parish High School. One of his classmates was future Louisiana Secretary of State Fox McKeithen, son of Governor John J. McKeithen. Traylor served for two years in the United States Army as a military police investigator, having entered as a private and was discharged as a sergeant.In 1969, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then Northeast Louisiana University. While at NLU, he was a Louisiana state trooper (Troop F). In 1974, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans.
From 1975-1982, he was an assistant district attorney in Winnsboro, the seat of Franklin Parish located between Monroe and Ferriday. He is a former investigator for the Louisiana Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketering Unit and a former legal advisor to the Louisiana State Police Narcotics, Detectives and Intelligence units. In 1985, he was elected to the 5th Judicial District Court, which encompasses in Franklin, Richland, and West Carroll parishes. He remained a district judge until January 1, 1997, after his election the preceding year to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Place 4.
n the nonpartisan blanket primary held on September 21, 1996, Traylor as a Republican unseated the Democrat Joe Bleich of Ruston to win a ten-year term on state Supreme Court. Traylor polled 60,484 votes (53 percent) to Bleich's 53,098 (47 percent). Bleich, a former state representative, had served on the court since 1983.In 2006, Traylor was unopposed for a second term on the court, but he left the position two and a half years later. Marcus R. Clark, a Calcasieu Parish native and a state district judge from Monroe, then won a special election in the fall of 2009 to complete Traylor's term, which expires January 1, 2017.
In the 2000 case of State v. Smith, Justice Traylor embraced the view of judicial restraint in authoring the Supreme Court's opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Louisiana sodomy or "crime-against-nature" statute.In his decision, Traylor said that the state constitution must not be manipulated by transient majorities of the judges. Such a view, he said, would create a government by judicial fiat, instead of a constitutional system. "Disaffected groups unable to obtain legislative redress need only convince a majority of this court that what they seek is an implicit 'right' afforded by the Louisiana Constitution. Our constitution wisely provides for separation of powers, and authorizes the legislature to make public policy determinations in this area," Traylor said.Traylor said that the state constitution does not protect "immoral acts . . . Simply put, commission of what the legislature determines as an immoral act, even if consensual and private, is an injury against society," he said.
In 2007, in Cook v. Cook, Traylor concurred in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court that a mother who exposed her children to her lesbian relationship was not entitled to keep custody of those children.
That same year in State v. Bailey (2007), Traylor concurred with the majority in the Jena 6 case that concluded that a white district attorney in La Salle Parish should have recused himself from prosecution of the six African American high school students who attacked a white classmate because the DA's past behavior showed an unwillingness to prosecute whites for similar crimes.
In 2008, Traylor wrote a unanimous court opinion that upheld the constitutionality of two state laws giving homeowners until the fall of 2007 to file lawsuits or claims against their insurance companies over damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The court noted that the extension was for one year and was limited to those two storms.
Traylor is a founding board member of the Winnsboro Economic Development Foundation. He was formerly a board member of the Winnsboro Lions Club and of the Franklin Parish Mental Health Association. He was the first president of Winnsboro Ducks Unlimited and the founder of John Adams Chapter of Greenwings. He is a life member of the National Rifle Association and holds affiliation with the Rocky Mountain Conservation Fund. He is a member of the United Methodist denomination.He is an honorary member of the Order of the Coif.
From a first marriage, Traylor has three married daughters, Mary Therese Nagem (born ca. 1972) and husband Sammy Thomas Nagem of Baton Rouge, Leigh Lee Liles (born ca. 1978) and husband William Bartlin Liles of Shreveport, and Anna T. Holloway (born ca. 1985) and husband Kyle Everett Holloway of Crowville in Franklin Parish. His second wife was the former Peggy Marie McDowell (1942-2009), who at the time of their marriage was divorced from State Representative Noble Edward Ellington, II, of Winnsboro, a cotton broker and also a former state senator. Peggy Traylor had two sons, Noble Ellington, III, and Ryan Ellington, both of Winnsboro. She is interred at Columbia Hills Cemetery in Columbia.
After Peggy's death, Traylor relocated from Winnsboro to Monroe to pursue opportunities in the private practice of law. On the last day of qualifying, Traylor announced his challenge to Senator Vitter. The winner of the Republican primary is expected to face U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville in Assumption Parish in the general election scheduled for November 2. Meanwhile, State Representative Ernest Wooton, a Republican from Belle Chase in Plaquemines Parish, reregistered to file to run as an Independent in the general election. Wooton said he will conduct a low-budget campaign from a motor home.