Ramsey Clark, Ex-Attorney General And Progressive Activist, Dies At 93
Written by Huffingtonpost on April 11, 2021
NEW YORK (AP) — Ramsey Clark, the legal professional basic within the Johnson administration who grew to become an outspoken activist for unpopular causes and a harsh critic of U.S. coverage, has died. He was 93.
Clark, whose father, Tom Clark, was legal professional basic and U.S. Supreme Court docket justice, died on Friday at his Manhattan house, a member of the family, Sharon Welch, introduced to media shops together with The New York Occasions and The Washington Submit.
After serving in President Lyndon Johnson’s Cupboard in 1967 and ’68, Clark arrange a personal legislation observe in New York wherein he championed civil rights, fought racism and the loss of life penalty, and represented declared foes of the USA together with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. He additionally defended former Iraqi chief Saddam Hussein.
New York civil rights legal professional Ron Kuby, who labored with Clark on quite a few circumstances, known as the loss of life “very, very unhappy in a season of losses.”
“The progressive authorized group has misplaced its elder dean and statesman,” Kuby mentioned. “Over many generations, Ramsey Clark was a principled voice, conscience and a fighter for civil and human rights.”
In courtrooms across the nation Clark defended antiwar activists. Within the court docket of public opinion, he charged the USA with militarism and conceitedness, beginning with the Vietnam Warfare and persevering with with Grenada, Libya, Panama and the Gulf Warfare.
When Clark visited Iraq after Operation Desert Storm and returned to accuse the USA of struggle crimes, Newsweek dubbed him the Jane Fonda of the Gulf Warfare.
Clark mentioned he solely wished the USA to reside as much as its beliefs. “In the event you don’t insist in your authorities obeying the legislation, then what proper do it’s important to demand it of others?” he mentioned.
The lanky, soft-spoken Texan went to Washington in 1961 as a New Frontiersman in President John F. Kennedy’s Justice Division.
He was 39 when Johnson made him legal professional basic in 1967, the second youngest ever — Robert Kennedy had been 36.
Supreme Court docket Justice Tom Clark, who had been Harry Truman’s legal professional basic earlier than he joined the excessive court docket in 1949, swore in his son as legal professional basic, then retired to keep away from the looks of battle of curiosity.
Ramsey Clark mentioned his work at Justice drew him into the civil rights revolution, which he known as “the noblest quest of the American individuals in our time.”
He additionally maintained opposition to the loss of life penalty and wiretapping, defended the appropriate of dissent and criticized FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover when nobody else in authorities would dare take him on.
However as Johnson’s legal professional basic, Clark had the job of prosecuting Dr. Benjamin Spock for counseling Vietnam-era youths to withstand the draft, a place with which he sympathized.
“We received the case, that was the worst half,” he mentioned years later.
The Dallas-born Clark, who did a hitch within the Marine Corps in 1945-46, moved his household to New York in 1970 and arrange a professional bono-oriented observe. He mentioned then that he and his companions had been limiting their annual private incomes to $50,000, a determine he didn’t all the time obtain.
“Cash’s not an curiosity of mine,” he mentioned, however on the similar time he was assembly steep medical payments for his daughter, Ronda, who was born with extreme disabilities. He and his spouse, Georgia, who had been married in 1949, additionally had a son, Thomas, a lawyer.
Clark took one shot at elective workplace, shedding the 1976 Democratic Senate main to Daniel P. Moynihan.
Clark’s shopper checklist included such peace and disarmament activists because the Harrisburg 7 and the Plowshares 8. Overseas, he represented dissidents in Iran, Chile, the Philippines and Taiwan, and skyjackers within the Soviet Union.
He was an advocate for Soviet and Syrian Jews, however outraged many Jews over different purchasers. He defended a Nazi jail camp guard combating extradition, and the Palestine Liberation Group in a lawsuit over the slaying of a cruise ship passenger by hijackers.
There have been normally two to a few dozen energetic circumstances on Clark’s authorized calendar, and about 100 extra within the background. Capital punishment circumstances had been a staple.
“We discuss civil liberties,” he mentioned. “We now have the biggest jail inhabitants per capita on Earth. The world’s best jailer is the freest nation on Earth?”
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