|Ramsey Clark in 1968|
|66th United States Attorney General|
March 10, 1967 – January 20, 1969
|President||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Nicholas Katzenbach|
|Succeeded by||John N. Mitchell|
|6th United States Deputy Attorney General|
|President||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Nicholas Katzenbach|
|Succeeded by||Warren Christopher|
|Born||William Ramsey Clark
December 18, 1927
|Children||daughter Ronda; son Tom Clark II|
|Alma mater||University of Texas-Austin (B.A.)
University of Chicago (M.A., J.D.)
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1945-1946|
William Ramsey Clark (born December 18, 1927) is an American lawyer, activist and former public official. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He supervised the drafting and played an important role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since leaving public office Clark has led many progressive activism campaigns, including opposition to the War on Terror, and he has offered legal defense to controversial figures such as Charles Taylor, Slobodan Milošević, Saddam Hussein, and Lyndon LaRouche.
Early life and career
Clark was born in Dallas, Texas, to Thomas Campbell Clark, who was also a United States Attorney General and a justice of the Supreme Court, and Mary Jane (née Ramsey), the daughter of a prominent Texas judge and lawyer Wiliam Franklin Ramsey. 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, and an M.A. and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1950. While at the University of Texas he was a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity.
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.
Kennedy and Johnson administrations
In 1967, President Johnson nominated him to be Attorney General of the United States. He was confirmed by the Senate and took the oath of office on March 2. There is speculation by Clark's detractors that Johnson made the appointment on the 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, creating the vacancy Johnson apparently desired.
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.
Following his term as Attorney General Clark worked as a law professor and was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. He visited North Vietnam in 1972 as a protest against the bombing of Hanoi. He was also associated with the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before resigning to run for political office.
In 1974, Clark was nominated in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator from New York defeating the party's designee Lee Alexander, but losing the election to the incumbent Jacob K. Javits. In 1976, Clark again sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, but was a distant third in the primary behind Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Congresswoman Bella Abzug.
In 1991, Clark's Coalition to Stop US Intervention in the Middle East opposed the US-led war and sanctions against Iraq. Clark accused the administration of President George H. W. Bush, J. Danforth Quayle, James Baker, Richard Cheney, William Webster[disambiguation needed], Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and "others to be named" of "crimes against peace, war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" for its conduct of the Gulf War against Iraq and the ensuing sanctions; in 1996, he added the charges of genocide and the "use of a weapon of mass destruction". Similarly, after the 1999 NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ramsey charged and "tried" NATO on 19 counts and issued calls for its dissolution.
Clark has been criticized by both opponents and supporters 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 one other non-Arab lawyers 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", and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found the trial to be unfair and to violate basic international human rights law. 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 March 18, 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 trial of Slobodan Milošević with the one of Saddam Hussein by stating: "both trials are marred with injustice, both are flawed." He characterized Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein as "both commanders who were courageous enough to fight more powerful countries."
In June, 2006, Clark wrote an article criticizing US foreign policy in general, containing a list of 17 US "major aggressions" introduced by "Both branches of our One Party system, Democrat and Republican, favor the use of force to have their way." (the list includes the Clinton years) and followed by "The United States government may have been able to outspend the Soviet Union into economic collapse in the Cold War arms race, injuring the entire planet in the process. Now Bush has entered a new arms race and is provoking a Second Cold War..."
|Clark's List of "Major Aggressions" by the United States of America|
(5) Invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965), Johnson (D);
(7) Attack and occupation of Grenada (population 110,000)(1983–1987) Reagan (R);
(10) Gulf War (1991), George H. W. Bush (R);
(12) Aerial attacks on Iraq (1993–2001) Bill Clinton (D);
(13) War against Yugoslavia (1999) 23,000 bombs and missiles dropped on Yugoslavia, Bill Clinton (D)
(16) War of aggression against Iraq and hostile occupation (2003)-present George W. Bush (R);
On September 1, 2007, in New York, Clark called for detained Filipino Jose Maria Sison’s release and pledged assistance by joining the latter’s legal defense team headed by Jan Fermon. Clark doubted Dutch authorities’ validity and competency, since the murder charges originated in the Philippines and had already been dismissed by the country's Supreme Court.
Advocating the impeachment of George W. Bush
|Dissolved||Jan. 20, 2009, converted to IndictBushNow.org|
|Key people||Ramsey Clark (founder)|
|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||Impeachment of Bush Administration members|
|Members||reported over 1,000,000 signatories|
In 2002, Clark founded "VoteToImpeach", an organization advocating the impeachment of George W. Bush and several members of his administration. For the duration of Bush's terms in office, Clark sought, unsuccessfully, to bring Bush to stand trial for impeachment. Clark was an opponent of both the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf Wars. he is the founder of the International Action Center, which holds significant overlapping membership with the Workers' World Party. Clark and the IAC helped found the protest organization A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).
As early as March 19, 2003, the New Jersey newspaper and website The Independent took note of Clark's efforts to impeach Bush and others, prior to the start of the Iraq War. The paper noted that "Clark said there is a Web site, www.votetoimpeach.org, dedicated to collecting signatures of U.S. citizens who want President George W. Bush impeached, and that approximately 150,000 have signed to impeach, he said." A conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, stated in an article dated February 27, 2004, "...Ramsey Clark's VoteToImpeach.org is a serious operation", and noted the group had run full-sized newspaper advertising on both coasts of the U.S. though the Standard also went on to describe them as also being a "angry petition stage."
Clark's speech to a counter-inauguration protest on January 20, 2005 at John Marshall Park in Washington D.C. was broadcast on the radio/TV program Democracy Now hosted by Amy Goodman, with Clark stating that "We’ve had more than 500,000 people sign on “Vote to Impeach.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian listed the website as one of three "Impeachment links", alongside afterdowningstreet.org and impeachpac.org  and The Bangor Daily News took note of the organization's website on March 17, 2006.
The organization, under Clark's guidance, drafted its own articles of impeachment against President Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft. The document argues that the four have committed, "...violations and subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America in an attempt to carry out with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes and deprivations of the civil rights of the people of the United States and other nations, by assuming powers of an imperial executive unaccountable to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and those reserved to the people of the United States." Votetoimpeach.org (as of 8 February 2007) claimed to have collected over 852,780 signatures in favor of impeachment.
After the Bush Administration left office in January, 2009, the website was changed to IndictBushNow.org. That website is subtitled "Hold Bush & Co. Accountable for Their Crimes" and solicits donations for this purpose.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (September 2012)|
As a lawyer, Clark has also provided legal counsel and advice to prominent figures, including many controversial accused persons. Regarding his role in the defense team of Saddam Hussein, for example, he stated that, " A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth". Clark has stated that by the time he decided to join Hussein's defense team, it was clear that "proceedings before the Iraqi Special Tribunal would corrupt justice both in fact and in appearance and create more hatred and rage in Iraq against the American occupation..affirmative measures must be taken to prevent prejudice from affecting the conduct of the case and the final judgment of the court..For there to be peace, the days of victor's justice must end." A partial listing of persons who have reportedly received legal counsel and advice from Ramsey Clark includes:
- Lori Berenson, an American convicted of support of the MRTA guerrilla in Peru
- Antiwar activist Father Philip Berrigan and the Harrisburg Seven
- FMLN activist Jennifer Casolo
- Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, accused of war crimes
- Radovan Karadžić, former Bosnian Serb politician, accused of war crimes
- Branch Davidian leader David Koresh
- Political figure Lyndon LaRouche
- Nazi concentration camp commandant Karl Linnas
- Camilo Mejía, a US soldier who deserted his post in March 2004 in protest against the US war against Iraq.
- Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia and of FR Yugoslavia, accused of alleged war crimes during NATO bombing of his country
- The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Advisory Board during late 1970s and early 1980s
- American Indian prisoner and political prisoner Leonard Peltier
- Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a leader in the Rwandan genocide
- Palestine Liberation Organization leaders in a lawsuit brought by the family of Leon Klinghoffer, person murdered during hijacking of the Achille Lauro.
- Nazi War criminal Jack Reimer, charged in the killings of Jews in Warsaw.
- Liberian political figure Charles Taylor during his 1985 fight against extradition from the United States to Liberia
- Defense attorney for three accused[who?] in trial for murder of Officer Bruce Prothero, Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Department.
- Civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman, whose disbarment from federal court was sought based on his harsh criticism of a federal judge, William Duffy Keller, calling him an anti-Semite and saying he had been drunk on the bench, see Standing Committee on Discipline v. Yagman, 856 F.Supp. 1384 (C.D. Cal. 1994) (suspending Yagman for two years), rev'd by Standing Committee on Discipline v. Yagman, 55 F.3d 1430 (9th Cir. 1995).
- "Deaths CLARK, GEORGIA WELCH". NYTimes.com. July 6, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Ancestry of Ramsey Clark
- Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, A Life of Service by Mimi Clark Gronlund, Ramsey Clark, pg. 21
- The Rainbow, vol. 132, no. 2, p. 10,
- Time Magazine, "The Ramsey Clark Issue", October 18, 1968
- Dam, Marcus (December 17, 2007). "Interview: Consumerism and materialism deadlier than armed occupation". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Archived from the original on April 17, 2011.
- ""Peace activists express concern about anti-semites in movement"". The Boston Globe.
- War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal, by Ramsey Clark and others
- The Wisdom Fund, "Former US Attorney General Charges US, British and UN Leaders", November 20, 1996
- CJPY, "NATO found guilty", June 10, 2000
- John B. Judis, "The Strange Case of Ramsey Clark," The New Republic, April 22, 1991, pp. 23-29.
- "US rebel joins Saddam legal team", news.bbc.co.uk, December 29, 2004
- "Arguments for Removal of Case to UN (in English & Arabic)"
- "Chaos mars Saddam court hearing", news.bbc.co.uk, December 5, 2005
- "Sticking up for Saddam", Slate.com
- "Iraq's Shallow Justice" Human Rights Watch, December 29, 2006
- "Hanging After Flawed Trial Undermines Rule of Law" Human Rights Watch, December 30, 2006
- "Final Opinion of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention"
- "Saddam trial 'flawed and unsound'" news.bbc.co.uk, November 20, 2006
- , San Diego Union Tribune, November 5, 2006
-  Daily Times of Pakistan, March 19, 2006
- The People vs. George Bush : Iraq War Crimes Tribunal
- Inquirer.net, Ex-US attorney general calls for Joma release
- Ramsey Clark visits Nandigram
- Nandigram says 'No!' to Dow's chemical hub
- "NHRC sends notice to Chief Secretary, West Bengal, on Nandigram incidents: investigation team of the Commission to visit the area".
- "CPM cadres kill 3 in Nandigram".
- The U.N.'s Anti-Antiracism Conference, Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2009.
- The Torturer in the Mirror
- http://www.oocities.org/hebdo99/dossier/ramseyclarkenbelgrado.htm "Ramsey Clark Adresses Serbian Academic Community on the occasion of receiving Honorary Doctorate of Belgrade University"
- http://www.salon.com/1999/06/21/clark/ "Ramsey Clark, the war criminal's best friend"
- Kevin Coogan, "The International Action Center: 'Peace Activists' with a Secret Agenda," Hit List, November/December 2001.
- Coogan, "The International Action Center," Hit List, Nov/Dec 2001.
- Ramsey Clark speaks out against war at college | independent.gmnews.com | Independent
- Impeach Bush? | The Weekly Standard
- Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark Calls For Bush Impeachment
- San Francisco Bay Guardian | News
- CounterPunch: "America's Best Political Newsletter"
- Dennis J. Bernstein, 9 March 2013, consortiumnews.com, Ramsey Clark’s Long Trek for Justice
- CNN, 27 November 2005, Lawyer: Ex-U.S. attorney general to join Saddam defense
- [www.commondreams.org/views05/0124-26.htm Why I'm Willing to Defend Hussein]
- Wohl, Alexander. Father, Son, and Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark and Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy (University Press of Kansas, 2013) 486 pp.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ramsey Clark|
- Biography from the Department of Justice website.
- Longer biography from the Department of Justice website.
- International Action Center Founded by Ramsey Clark.
- International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević Where Ramsey Clark signed the petition.
- "Neighborhood Bully: Ramsey Clark on American Militarism, interview by Derrick Jensen. Online posting. The Sun (no date).
- "Opinion: Ramsey Clark's bloody resume," by Michelle Malkin. Online posting. Townhall January 24, 2002.
- "Profile: Ramsey Clark: A Voice of Reason." Online posting. Al-Ahram Weekly 2003.
- "Ramsey Clark to defend Saddam." Online posting. Aljazeera December 29, 2004. July 1, 2006.
- "Ramsey Clark, the War Criminal's Best Friend," by Ian Williams. Online posting. Salon.com June 21, 1999.
- Transcript of "Meet the Press" October 9, 2005. Includes a "Meet the Press Minute" about Ramsey Clark, Clark's father, former US Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall. Online posting. October 9, 2005. October 13, 2005.
- Oral History Interviews with Ramsey Clark, from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
- Ramsey Clark footnotes Includes interview with Ramsey Clark.
- "Why I'm Willing To Defend Hussein", a January 24, 2005 LA Times commentary by Clark
- "The Mysterious Ramsey Clark", 1999, The Shadow
- "John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account" includes mention of North Vietnamese reaction to Ramsey Clark's visit during the Vietnam War. 2008, US News & World Report
- Ramsey Clark has joined (TGTE), Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has joined Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
|United States Deputy Attorney General
|U.S. Attorney General
Served under: Lyndon B. Johnson
John N. Mitchell
|Party political offices|
|Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate from New York (Class 3)