John Stanley Pottinger

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John Stanley Pottinger
United States Assistant Attorney General
for the Civil Rights Division
In office
Preceded byDavid Luke Norman
Succeeded byDrew S. Days, III
Personal details
Born (1940-02-13) February 13, 1940 (age 81)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Gloria Anderson (div. 1975)
Children3, including Matthew
ResidenceNew York City, U.S.
EducationHarvard University
OccupationNovelist, lawyer

John Stanley Pottinger (born February 13, 1940) is an American novelist and lawyer. He previously worked as a banker in the 1980s and served as a politician known for his appointments involving civil rights.

Early life and education[edit]

J. Stanley Pottinger was born in 1940 in Dayton Ohio, to parents Elnora and John Pottinger.[1] He grew up and attended high school in Dayton.[2] Pottinger credits his father John with instilling an awareness of civil rights.[1] In 1962, Pottinger graduated from Harvard University. He continued his studies at Harvard and graduated with a JD from Harvard Law School in 1965.[3] Pottinger's interest in politics led him to volunteer in 1966 to aid the campaign of Robert H. Finch for lieutenant governor of California.[2] Finch asked him in 1968 to head the Civil Rights Division.[2]


Pottinger held significant roles as a bureaucratic appointee in the Nixon, Ford and Carter Administrations. From 1970 to 1973, he held the position of the Director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1970 to 1973 and later served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the United States Department of Justice from 1973 to 1977.[4][5] According to journalist Bob Woodward, Pottinger was the only person who discovered that the true identity of Watergate source Deep Throat was Mark Felt. Pottinger maintained the secret until 2005, when Felt publicly declared he was Deep Throat.[6]

Pottinger later engaged in a lucrative practice on Wall Street and wrote a best selling book, The Fourth Procedure,[7] as well as three other novels.[4]

In 2013, Pottinger was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Pottinger began dating Gloria Anderson in high school; they married in 1965 and have three children together.[1] Pottinger and Anderson divorced in 1975.[1] He later had a nine-year relationship with Gloria Steinem that ended in 1984.[4][1] Other exes include Kathie Lee Gifford, Connie Chung, and publisher-turned-agent Joni Evans, according to a 1995 profile in The Washington Post


  1. ^ a b c d e Lasswell, Mark (June 5, 1995). "Surgical Strike". People. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Civil Rights Protector John Stanley Pottinger". The New York Times. March 30, 1974. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  3. ^ "J. Stanley Pottinger Papers, 1968-1981". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "A Veteran and China Hand Advises Trump for Xi's Visit". The New York Times. April 4, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Span, Paula (May 13, 1995). "The Many Lives of Stanley Pottinger". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Woodward, Bob (July 6, 2005). The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743289283. Retrieved January 7, 2021 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Here's a Man Who Can Honestly Say He's Done It All". The Los Angeles Times. June 11, 1995.
  8. ^ Avlon, John (February 28, 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay-Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast.

External links[edit]