Kenneth Starr

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Kenneth Winston Starr (born July 21, 1946) is a lawyer and former judge who is most prominently known for his role as special prosecutor and was appointed to the Office of the Independent Counsel to investigate the Whitewater land transactions by President Bill Clinton. He later submitted to Congress the Starr Report, which led to Clinton's impeachment on charges arising from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. United States Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked for him during his tenure as solicitor general during the administration of Ronald Reagan.


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Early life

Kenneth Starr was born in Vernon, Texas in 1946, the son of a Protestant minister and part time barber. He first attended Harding University but transferred to George Washington University where he received his B.A. He later attended Brown University where he received his M.A, and Duke University where he received his law degree. After his graduation from Duke, he became a clerk for then-Chief Justice Warren Burger. He then worked as an attorney for several years in Los Angeles before returning to Washington, D.C. to serve as a counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith in 1981.

Pre-Independent Counsel activities

Prior to his appointment as Independent Counsel, Starr had been a federal judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1983 to 1989 and was United States Solicitor General from 1989 to 1993 under President George H. W. Bush. As a judge, Starr was purported to be a moderate conservative with a broad view of freedom of the press. Before his tenure as independent counsel, he was even mentioned as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Time as Independent Counsel

In 1994 Starr was appointed by a three-judge panel to continue the Whitewater investigation, replacing Robert Fiske, who had been specially appointed by the Attorney General Janet Reno prior to the re-enactment of the Independent Counsel law to investigate whether the Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy had violated the law in accepting gifts. His powers were very broad, and he was given the right to subpoena nearly anyone he felt may have information relevant to the scandal.

Though his judicial reputation earned him initial popularity in the investigation, Starr's service soon turned controversial, especially after his powers were further expanded to investigate the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Republicans saw him as incompetent and too trusting of the president though more accurately he could be described as a repressed political zealot on a mission to remove Clinton. The zeal with which his office tried to bring down Clinton even lead to his office leaking grand jury testimony in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which Starr's office later acknowledged it had in fact done.

Starr later claims to have regretted his role in the Lewinsky investigation, saying "the most fundamental thing that could have been done differently" would have been for somebody else to have investigated the matter.[1]

Post-Independent Counsel activities

After five years as independent counsel, Starr resigned and returned to private practice as an appellate lawyer. Starr is now a partner at Kirkland and Ellis, specializing in litigation. He is one of the lead attorneys in a class-action lawsuit filed by a coalition of liberal and conservative groups (including the ACLU and the NRA) against the regulations created by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known informally as McCain-Feingold Act. In the case, Starr has argued that the law is an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech.

In 2003, Starr said he never should have been involved with the Lewinsky matter and the investigation should have focused on Whitewater. [2]

On April 6, 2004, he was appointed dean of Pepperdine University's School of Law. He originally accepted this post in 1996, however he gave up the appointment in 1998 after a controversy erupted. This raised eyebrows since there was a conflict of interest due to substantial donations to Pepperdine from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a Clinton critic who funded many media outlets attacking the president.

As of March 2005, Starr was working to overturn the death sentence of Robin Lovitt, who is on Virginia's Death Row for allegedly murdering a man during a robbery in 1998. Starr is providing his services to Lovitt pro bono.


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References

External links

Starr, Ken

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