Ramsey Clark



William Ramsey Clark (born December 18, 1927) is a lawyer and activist. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as the 66th United States Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He has been known for his continuing advocacy on behalf of civil and human rights political causes. He is also known for his role as defense attorney in the trials of controversial figures, such as defense attorney for Saddam Hussein. He was a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award.

Clark was born in Dallas, Texas to Mary Jane Ramsey and Tom C. Clark, who was also a United States Attorney General and a justice of the Supreme Court. Clark served in the United States Marine Corps in 1945 and 1946, then earned a B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1949, an M.A. and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1950.

He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1950, and to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1956. From 1951 to 1961, Clark was an associate and partner in the law firm of Clark, Reed and Clark.

Clark served in the Department of Justice as the Assistant Attorney General of the Lands Division from 1961 to 1965, and as Deputy Attorney General from 1965 to 1967.

On March 2, 1967, President Johnson appointed him to be Attorney General of the United States, an appointment probably influenced by Johnson's expectation that Clark's father, Associate Justice Tom C. Clark, would resign from the Supreme Court to avoid a conflict of interest. Johnson wanted a vacancy to be created on the Court so he could appoint Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice. The elder Clark resigned from the supreme court on June 12, 1967.

Clark served as Attorney General until Johnson's term as President ended on January 20, 1969.

Clark played an important role in the history of the American Civil Rights movement. During his years at the Justice Department, he

* supervised the federal presence at Ole Miss during the week following the admission of James Meredith;
* surveyed all school districts in the South desegregating under court order (1963);
* supervised federal enforcement of the court order protecting the march from Selma to Montgomery; and
* headed the Presidential task force to Watts following the riots.
* supervised the drafting and executive role in passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968.

As Attorney General during part of the Vietnam War, Clark oversaw the prosecution of the Boston Five for “conspiracy to aid and abet draft resistance.” Four of the five were convicted, including pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock and Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin Jr.

In addition to his government work, during this period Clark was also director of the American Judicature Society (in 1963) and national president of the Federal Bar Association in 1964–65.

Following his term he worked as a law professor and was active in the anti–Vietnam War movement. He visited North Vietnam in 1972. In 1974 he was the Democratic Party's candidate for the United States Senate from New York, losing to Jacob Javits. In 1976, Clark again sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, but ran well behind the winner, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as well as Congresswoman Bella Abzug.

More recently, Clark has become controversial for his political views and publications.

Clark is affiliated with VoteToImpeach, an organization advocating the impeachment of George W. Bush. He has been an opponent of both Persian Gulf War conflicts. "Impeachment is the most important issue facing Constitutional government in the United States. Impeachment will determine whether the American people will hold the Bush administration accountable for its High Crimes and Misdemeanors" [2]. Clark is the founder of the International Action Center. It holds significant overlapping membership with the Workers' World Party.[citation needed] Clark and the IAC helped found the protest organization A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).[citation needed] Clark also participated in the 2003-2004 "trial" of George W. Bush by the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan.

Like other lawyers defending unpopular figures, such as American lawyer Alan Dershowitz — who defended, among other figures, O.J. Simpson and Claus von Bülow — Ramsey Clark has been criticized for some of the people he agreed to defend; this criticism has been exacerbated by some statements Clark has made in defense of his clients.

In 2004 Clark joined a panel of about 20 prominent Arab and non-Arab lawyers who volunteered to defend Saddam Hussein in his trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal. Clark appeared before the Iraqi Special Tribunal in late November 2005 arguing "that it failed to respect basic human rights and was illegal because it was formed as a consequence of the United States' illegal war of aggression against the people of Iraq." Clark said that unless the trial was seen as "absolutely fair", it would "divide rather than reconcile Iraq". Christopher Hitchens claimed that Clark was admitting Hussein's guilt when Clark reportedly stated in a 2005 BBC interview: "He [Saddam] had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt".

Clark was not alone in criticizing the Iraqi Special Tribunal's trial of Saddam Hussein, which drew intense criticism from international human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch called Saddam's trial a "missed opportunity" and a "deeply flawed trial". Among the irregularities cited by HRW, were that proceedings were marked by frequent outbursts by both judges and defendants, that three defense lawyers were murdered, that the original chief judge was replaced, that important documents were not given to defense lawyers in advance, that paperwork was lost, and that the judges made asides that pre-judged Saddam Hussein. One of those outburst occurred when Clark was ejected from the trial after passing the judge a memorandum stating that the trial was making "a mockery of justice". The Chief Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman shouted at Clark, "No, you are the mockery...get him out, out".

On 18 March 2006, Clark attended the funeral of Slobodan Milošević. He declared: "History will prove Milošević was right. Charges are just that, charges. The trial did not have facts." He compared the trials of Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein, stating: "both trials are marred with injustice, both are flawed." He also described Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein as "both commanders" who "were courageous enough to fight more powerful countries."

Clark has been criticized for his work by a number of organizations and individuals while at the same time receiving praise from other groups (Amnesty International, the ACLU, the NAACP, etc) for his defense of the human rights of Palestinians and American Indians.[citation needed] As a lawyer, he has also provided legal counsel and advice to controversial figures, including:

* Nazi concentration camp commandant Karl Linnas
* Nazi War criminal Jack Reimer, charged in the killings of Jews in Warsaw.
* The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Advisory Board during late 1970s and early 1980s
* Branch Davidian leader David Koresh
* FMLN activist Jennifer Casolo
* Antiwar activist Father Philip Berrigan
* Political figure Lyndon Larouche
* American Indian prisoner Leonard Peltier
* Crimes of America conference in Tehran in 1980
* Liberian political figure Charles G. Taylor during his 1985 fight against extradition from the United States to Liberia
* Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a leader in the Rwandan genocide
* PLO leaders in a lawsuit brought by the family of Leon Klinghoffer.
* Camilo Mejia, a US soldier who deserted his post in March 2004 in protest against the US war against Iraq.
* Defense attorney for three killers of Officer Bruce Prothero, Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Department.
* Radovan Karadžić, accused Yugoslav war criminal.
* Slobodan Milošević, former president of Yugoslavia, accused war criminal
* Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq and executed war criminal
* Lori Berenson, an American convicted of support of the MRTA guerrilla in PeruPermission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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