1975 January 14

Edward Levi Chosen to be Attorney General – Will Chart Independent Course


President Gerald Ford on this day announced his intention to name Edward H. Levi as Attorney General. Levi, President of the University of Chicago and the former Dean of its Law School, was the fifth U.S. Attorney General in six years. The turmoil in the Justice Department was a result of the Watergate scandal in the administration of President Richard Nixon. (The scandal began with the break-in of Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Complex on June 17, 1972, and gripped the nation until Nixon’s resignation in disgrace on August 9, 1974.) At his confirmation hearing, Levi promised to be politically independent, and he fulfilled that promise, publicly disagreeing with President Ford on several occasions. See, for example, May 26, 1975. when he publicly contradicted a careless remark President Ford had made about school integration. On March 10, 1976, he issued the first guidelines on domestic security investigations by the FBI, which were a major step forward in terms of controlling the previously lawless agency.

Levi as been regularly cited by political scientists and lawyers as the model of a modern attorney general. Levi was also the first Jewish U.S. Attorney General of the United States.

Learn About Edward H. Levi: http://president.uchicago.edu/directory/edward-h-levi

Watch a documentary, Restoring Justice, on the legacy of Edward Levi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdEnL1A5c4I

Read Edward Levi’s official Justice Department biography (with links to his speeches): http://www.justice.gov/ag/aghistpage.php?id=70

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