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Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Ind. Gov't. - Indiana native William Ruckelshaus' career is relevant to two national stories today
The Washington DC career of William Ruckelshaus, an Indianapolis native who practiced law in this city, served as Indiana House majority leader, and lost the U.S. Senate election to Birch Bayh in 1968, is relevant today for two reasons:
- First, and most famously, Ruckelshaus was one of the participants of the Watergate event known as the "Saturday Night Massacre." To quote from Wikipedia:
[In 1973] he was appointed Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice. In an event known as the "Saturday Night Massacre", Ruckelshaus and his boss, Elliot Richardson, famously resigned their positions within the Justice Department rather than obey an order from President Nixon to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who was investigating official misconduct on the part of the president and his aides.These events are in the news again today in light of last evening's actions by President Trump in firing the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates.
- Second, Ruckelshaus served as the first EPA administrator, appointed by President Nixon in 1970. Years later, again to quote Wikipedia:
In 1983, with the EPA in crisis due to mass resignations over the mishandling of the Superfund project, President Ronald Reagan appointed Ruckelshaus to serve as EPA Administrator again. This time it was White House Chief of Staff James Baker who was Ruckelshaus's champion in asking him to return to the agency. The White House acceded to Ruckhelshaus's request to allow him maximum autonomy in the choice of new appointees.This is relevant today because Neil Gorsuch is Donald Trump's rumored pick for the Supreme Court. The Denver Post has a story today on Judge Gorsuch that concludes:
Ruckelshaus attempted to win back public confidence in the EPA, a challenging task in the face of a skeptical press and a wary Congress, both of whom scrutinized all aspects of the agency's activities and some of whom interpreted a number of its actions in the worst possible light. Nonetheless, Ruckelshaus filled the top-level staffing slots with persons of competence, turned the attention of the staff back to the agency's fundamental mission, and raised the esteem of the agency in the public mind.
Gorsuch comes from a well-known Colorado Republican family. His mother, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, was Environmental Protection Agency director for the Reagan administration for 22 months. She slashed the agency’s budget and resigned under fire in 1983 during a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste dumps.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 31, 2017 01:51 PM
Posted to Indiana Government