Ramsey Clark, attorney general under Johnson, dies at 93

NEW YORK —– Ramsey Clark, the attorney general of the United States in the Johnson administration who ended up being an outspoken activist for out of favor causes and an extreme critic of U.S. policy, has actually passed away. He was 93.

Clark, whose daddy, Tom Clark, was chief law officer and U.S. Supreme Court justice, passed away on Friday at his Manhattan house, a relative, Sharon Welch, revealed to media outlets consisting of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

After serving in President Lyndon Johnson’’ s Cabinet in 1967 and ’’ 68, Clark established a personal law practice in New York in which he promoted civil liberties, battled bigotry and the capital punishment, and represented stated opponents of the United States consisting of previous Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. He likewise protected previous Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

New York civil liberties lawyer Ron Kuby, who dealt with Clark on various cases, called the death ““ really, extremely unfortunate in a season of losses.””


“ The progressive legal neighborhood has actually lost its older dean and statesman,” ” Kuby stated. “ Over numerous generations, Ramsey Clark was a principled voice, conscience and a fighter for human and civil rights.””


In courtrooms around the nation Clark safeguarded antiwar activists. In the court of popular opinion, he charged the United States with militarism and conceit, beginning with the Vietnam War and continuing with Grenada, Libya, Panama and the Gulf War.

When Clark went to Iraq after Operation Desert Storm and went back to implicate the United States of war criminal activities, Newsweek called him the Jane Fonda of the Gulf War.

Clark stated he just desired the United States to measure up to its perfects. ““ If you wear ’ t demand your federal government following the law, then what right do you need to require it of others?” ” he stated.


The slender, soft-spoken Texan went to Washington in 1961 as a New Frontiersman in President John F. Kennedy’’ s Justice Department.

He was 39 when Johnson made him chief law officer in 1967, the 2nd youngest ever —– Robert Kennedy had actually been 36.

Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, who had actually been Harry Truman’’ s attorney general of the United States prior to he signed up with the high court in 1949, swore in his boy as attorney general of the United States, then retired to prevent the look of dispute of interest.

Ramsey Clark stated his work at Justice drew him into the civil liberties transformation, which he called ““ the noblest mission of the American individuals in our time.””


He likewise preserved opposition to the capital punishment and wiretapping, protected the right of dissent and slammed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover when nobody else in federal government would attempt take him on.

But as Johnson’’ s attorney general of the United States, Clark had the task of prosecuting Dr. Benjamin Spock for counseling Vietnam-era youths to withstand the draft, a position with which he had compassion.

““ We won the case,” that was the worst part, ” he stated years later on.


The Dallas-born Clark, who did a drawback in the Marine Corps in 1945-46, moved his household to New York in 1970 and established a professional bono-oriented practice. He stated then that he and his partners were restricting their yearly individual earnings to $50,000, a figure he did not constantly accomplish.

““ Money ’ s not an interest of mine,” ” he stated, however at the very same time he was fulfilling high medical costs for his child, Ronda, who was born with serious impairments. He and his partner, Georgia, who were wed in 1949, likewise had a child, Thomas, a legal representative.

Clark took one shot at optional workplace, losing the 1976 Democratic Senate main to Daniel P. Moynihan.

Clark’’ s customer list consisted of such peace and disarmament activists as the Harrisburg 7 and the Plowshares 8. Abroad, he represented dissidents in Iran, Chile, the Philippines and Taiwan, and skyjackers in the Soviet Union.

He was a supporter for Syrian and soviet Jews, however outraged numerous Jews over other customers. He protected a Nazi jail camp guard battling extradition, and the Palestine Liberation Organization in a suit over the slaying of a cruise liner traveler by hijackers.

There were typically 2 to 3 lots active cases on Clark’’ s legal calendar, and about 100 more in the background. Capital penalty cases were a staple.

““ We speak about civil liberties,” ” he stated. “ We have the biggest jail population per capita in the world. The world’’ s biggest jailer is the freest nation in the world?””


Read more: politico.com