Clark, Ramsey

Clark, Ramsey,

1927–, attorney general of the United States (1967–69), b. Dallas, Tex.; son of Tom Campbell ClarkClark, Tom Campbell,
1899–1977, U.S. attorney general (1945–49), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1949–67), b. Dallas, Tex.; father of Ramsey Clark. He received his law degree from the Univ. of Texas. Clark joined the Justice Dept.
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. Admitted to the bar in 1951, Ramsey Clark practiced law in Dallas. After serving in the federal government as assistant attorney general in charge of the lands division (1961–65), deputy attorney general (1965–66), and acting attorney general (Oct., 1966–Feb., 1967), he was appointed by President JohnsonJohnson, Lyndon Baines,
1908–73, 36th President of the United States (1963–69), b. near Stonewall, Tex. Early Life

Born into a farm family, he graduated (1930) from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State Univ.), in San Marcos.
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 to succeed Nicholas Katzenbach as attorney general. Clark proved to be a vigorous defender of civil liberties and civil rights; he opposed the use of government wiretaps and initiated the first Northern school desegregation case. After leaving the government, he taught law and later became active in the anti–Vietnam War movement, visiting North Vietnam in 1972. In 1974 he was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from New York but was defeated by Jacob JavitsJavits, Jacob Koppel,
1904–86, American political leader, b. New York City, LL.B., New York Univ., 1927. He and his brother, Benjamin A. Javits (1894–1973), developed a flourishing legal practice. Entering politics as a supporter of Fiorello H.
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; he also failed in a second Senate run in 1976.

Subsequently he practiced as a defense lawyer in New York and continued his political activism. He founded the International Action Center (associated with the Trotskyite Workers' World party), which, like Clark, has opposed various forms of "oppression" by the United States, including military actions, the death penalty, and globalization. Clark has defended or supported Philip Berrigan (see Berrigan brothersBerrigan brothers
, American Catholic priests, writers, and social activists. Daniel Berrigan, 1921–2016, b. Syracuse, N.Y., was ordained in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1952.
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), Slobodan MiloševićMilošević, Slobodan
, 1941–2006, Yugoslav and Serbian political leader, president of Serbia (1989–97) and of Yugoslavia (1997–2000), b. Požarevac, Serbia.
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, Bosnian Serb leader and accused war criminal Radovan Karadžić, Rwandan clergyman and convicted genocide instigator Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, and Saddam HusseinHussein, Saddam
, 1937–2006, Iraqi political leader. A member of the Ba'ath party, he fled Iraq after participating (1959) in an assassination attempt on the country's prime minister; in Egypt he attended law school.
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 (acting as a defense attorney at his trial in Iraq beginning in 2005). Clark wrote Crime in America (1970).

Bibliography

For an account of his career as attorney general, see Justice by R. Harris (1970); A. Wohl, Father, Son, and Constitution (2013).

Clark, Ramsey (William)

(1927–  ) attorney general, political activist; born in Dallas, Texas. Son of former Supreme Court justice Tom C. Clark, he was named attorney general (1967–69) during the raucous anti-Vietnam War years. Although he prosecuted activists such as the Berrigan brothers, Clark was known to be a liberal who moved further to the left in his beliefs and causes after returning to private practice. Twice an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate from New York (1970s), he returned to public prominence (1980–90s) as an outspoken critic of two Republican administrations. He himself was roundly criticized for support of extremist politicians like Lyndon LaRouche—regarded by most as an ultra-right extremist—and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and he became a mystery to former backers.