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First Female U.S. Attorney General

July 18, 2012

Janet Reno, born on July 21, 1938, was the first woman appointed as the United States Attorney General.  She was the second longest serving Attorney General; appointed by President Clinton in 1993, she served throughout his presidency.  Prior to serving as Attorney General, Reno was the State Attorney for Miami-Dade County, winning elections to office from 1978 until her appointment in 1993.

As Attorney General, Reno and the Department of Justice tackled the antitrust case against Microsoft and prosecuted the high profile cases involving the Oklahoma bombing, the Unabomber, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings .  Not without controversy, she oversaw the standoff at Ruby Ridge and the siege and storming of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, TX.  She also clashed with members of Congress by refusing to appoint an independent counsel to investigate campaign contributions for President Clinton; the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight voted to held her in contempt for refusing to release DOJ files during his impeachment trial, although Congress never voted on the resolution and the documents were eventually turned over.

After serving as Attorney General, she ran for office as Governor of Florida in 2002 but lost the Democratic primary.

To read more about Janet Reno and events during her term, see:

The Counselors:  Conversations with 18 Courageous Women Who Have Changed the World, by Elizabeth Vrato

The United States of America versus Theodore John  Kozinsky:  Ethics, Power and the Invention of the Unabomber, by Michael Mello

Freedom and Order:  How Democratic Governments Restrict Civil Liberties after Terrorist Attacks–and Why Sometimes They Don’t, by  Gabriel Rubin

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