Evelle J. Younger

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Evelle J. Younger
Evelle J. Younger (1).jpg
26th California Attorney General
In office
Governor Ronald Reagan
Jerry Brown
Preceded by Thomas C. Lynch
Succeeded by George Deukmejian
35th Los Angeles County District Attorney
In office
Preceded by William B. McKesson
Succeeded by Joseph P. Busch
Personal details
Born Evelle Jansen Younger
(1918-06-19)June 19, 1918
Stamford, Nebraska, U.S.
Died May 4, 1989(1989-05-04) (aged 70)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place Los Angeles National Cemetery
West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Republican

Evelle Jansen Younger (June 19, 1918 – May 4, 1989) was California Attorney General from 1971 to 1979. Described as an exponent of steadfast moderation, he was nonetheless instrumental in enlarging the scope and power of the state's environmental protection law. Political friends included Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald R. Ford. Running against incumbent Jerry Brown, who was then at the height of his popularity, Younger was the unsuccessful Republican Party nominee for Governor of California in 1978. His wife, Mildred, had a promising political career as a centrist Republican in the 1950s until she lost her voice by injuries suffered in a car crash. The Youngers' only child, Eric E. Younger, became a Superior Court Judge.[1]

Life and career[edit]

A native of Nebraska, Younger became an FBI Special Agent after law school. At the age of 24, when he was one of J. Edgar Hoover's top agents, Younger became a member of CIA forerunner the Office of Strategic Services, serving in the Burma-China-India theater during World War II.[2] He also served in Korea.[3] One of Younger's contributions as Attorney General was to the development of the California Environmental Quality Act. Younger advocated for a broad interpretation of its applicability, filing a brief in the landmark case Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors (1972). The ruling on the case, which included language drawing upon Younger's brief, transformed CEQA from a mild and insignificant statement of policy to a pervasive and transformative regulatory measure by defining "project" to include all private activities requiring public permits. Younger also helped draft legislation that refined and expanded CEQA.[4]

In the 1978 Republican primary, Younger led the balloting with 1,008,087 (40 percent). Former Los Angeles Police Chief Ed Davis trailed with 738,741 (29.3 percent). Finishing third and fourth were State Senator Ken Maddy of Fresno with 484,583 (19.2 percent) and San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson (who would be elected Governor in 1990 and reelected over Jerry Brown's sister, Kathleen, in 1994), who drew 230,146 ballots (9.1 percent).

Younger served in the United States Army during World War II and then became an FBI agent. He was a municipal judge in California from 1953 to 1958 and a superior court judge in California from 1958 to 1964, when he became district attorney of Los Angeles County. He also rose to the rank of Major General in the US Air Force Reserve, and was the first to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General (Reserve) as a Special Agent in the AF Office of Special Investigations. He died in 1989, and was interred in the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.


  1. ^ John Balzar, "Ex-Atty. Gen. Evelle Younger Is Dead at 70", Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1989.
  2. ^ Richard Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency, p. 18.
  3. ^ EVELLE J. YOUNGER, District Attorney, 1964-1971; retrieved 18/1/15.
  4. ^ E. Clement Shute, "CEQA Turns Twenty-One." Land Use Forum 2:2 (1993), 95-98.

External links[edit]

Reference: 1 E. Clement Shute, “CEQA Turns Twenty-One.” Land Use Forum 2:2 (1993), 95-98.

Legal offices
Preceded by
William B. McKesson
Los Angeles County District Attorney
Succeeded by
Joseph P. Busch
Preceded by
Thomas C. Lynch
California Attorney General
Succeeded by
George Deukmejian
Party political offices
Preceded by
Houston I. Flournoy
Republican Party nominee for Governor of California
Succeeded by
George Deukmejian