James D. St. Clair

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James D. St. Clair (April 14, 1920 – March 10, 2001) was an American lawyer, and practiced law for many years in Boston with the firm of Hale and Dorr. He lived in Wellesley Hills, MA for nearly 5 decades until his death.

He first gained notice while assisting Joseph Welch in the Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954. (It was initially planned that he would share that role with Fred Fisher, and it was Fisher whom Joseph McCarthy attacked, eliciting Welch's "Have you left no sense of decency?" speech).

Much later in this his career he was Richard Nixon's counsel, most notably before the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon, where he said,

The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.

He also represented the president before the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment process against Richard Nixon.

James Draper St. Clair was born on April 14, 1920, in Akron, Ohio. He was raised in Illinois, graduating from Moline High School, Moline, IL, in 1937, and studying at Augustana College, the University of Illinois and Harvard Law School.


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