WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu JANET RENO: THE EARLY YEARS AND CAREER OF A PIONEERING WOMAN LAWYER 1938- by HEATHER C. SARNI Barbara A. Babcock Women’s Legal History Autumn 1997 Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Family Background III. Law School IV. Early Legal Career V. Life as an Elected Official VI. Conclusion VII. Directions For The Future Biographer VIII. Timeline WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu INTRODUCTION Janet Reno achieved the title of “first woman” in at least two of her legal jobs: In 1978 she was the first woman state attorney in Florida history; In 1993 she became the first woman United States Attorney General. Like for many of the woman pioneers in the law, the road to the job that will ensure her place in the history books was not an easy one. Although she has not yet finished leaving her mark on the position of the Attorney General, she has already left a strong impression. Only history will reveal what her legacy will be, but we can speculate given the record she has amassed thus far. One thing that is certain is that she is about as atypical a public figure that exists. Reno has a reputation for unyielding honesty. She seems to be unimpressed by wealth, power, and anything even the least bit superficial. She also eschews a common trait of most politicians— the need to have everybody like her. She is guided by her sense of doing the right thing in every situation. Reno is fully aware that every time she opens her mouth she has the potential to influence many people. She takes advantage of each opportunity by espousing her personal views on the importance of the family, reaching children early, and her holistic approach toward the criminal justice system. She has provided, and will hopefully continue to provide long into the future, inspiration and direction for all women, but especially those who hope to enter the legal arena. She feels a fervent commitment to other women. At the close of her confirmation hearing she remarked: “I will set an example that will enable people to understand, if a woman can be Attorney General of the United States, she can do anything.”1 She is not only a first, but a true original. She teaches us all, through example, how to live a simple and honest life, dedicated to doing the right thing. FAMILY BACKGROUND Janet Reno was born July 21, 1938 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida. She was the first of four children born a year apart born to Henry Olaf and Jane Wood Reno. She has a remarkably strong sense of family, and attributes to her parents primary responsibility for what she has accomplished in her life.2 There were very few rules in the Reno family, except that they could not do what was wrong. The kids were allowed to be “wild, adventurous, enthusiastic about anything” they chose. They just “couldn’t be mean,” and “couldn’t be dishonest.”3 Understanding Janet Reno’s family life goes a long way toward appreciating who Janet Reno is, and why she is what she is, today. Her father was a Danish immigrant, while her mother came from a Southern family with strong Georgia roots. Her father spoke no English when he arrived in the United States as a twelve year old. Within four years he was the editor of his high school newspaper. He later became a police reporter for the Miami Herald, a job he held for 43 years. Her mother was as one-of-a-kind as they come. Jane had a reputation as an alligator-wrestling, beer-drinking, outrageous, candidly- WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu open person.4 But Jane was more than that. She was the backbone of the family. She instilled the gender-neutral values in her children that allowed a young Janet to see that it did not matter if you were a boy or a girl: you could accomplish whatever you set out for yourself. Nothing typified this better than the day Jane picked the kids up from school and announced that she was building the family a house, since they had very little money and had outgrown their current house. When the kids asked, “What do you know about building a house?,” Jane’s response was, “I’m going to learn.” And she did. It took her two years, but by talking to masons, plumbers, and electricians, she learned what she needed. She dug the foundation all by herself, using a pick and a shovel. She laid the blocks. She wired the structure. She installed the plumbing. Occasionally Jane received help with the heavy lifting when Henry returned from work in the evening; but it was all her project. Janet calls the house “a symbol to me that you can do anything you really want to if it is the right thing to do and you put your mind to it.”5 Janet grew up a tomboy, spending countless hours with her siblings and her cousins riding horses, climbing trees, and playing outdoor games. She and her sister frequently went topless, like her father and brothers. Her mother insisted on a shirt once she approached puberty, but the answer to Janet’s question “Do I have to wear shoes, too?” invariably was “no.”6 Her mother was a free- spirit, who taught the kids how to play baseball, how to bake a cake, but above all, how to play fair.7 The house Jane built the family had no interior doors— on either of the three bedrooms, the bathroom, or the kitchen— until guests complained of lack of privacy.8 There was no television at home, and no telephone for years.9 The family spent much of their time interacting with each other, usually talking about current events and debating politics. When Janet was Thirteen her parents sent her to school in Germany for a year, where she stayed with her uncle who was a U.S. miliary judge. While there she traveled throughout Europe. When she returned she wrote of her experiences, and her father managed to get her piece published in the Miami Herald, with the headline: “14-year-old Miamian Writes Her Own Story of Nine Months in Europe; Finds Red Menacing, Faust More Fun than the Folies Bergere.”10 Upon ` Janet’s return she entered school at Coral Gables High School. She was a serious student, with thoughts of becoming a nuclear physicist. Her senior year she was voted “most intelligent.”11 After high school Janet attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She spent Summer vacations working as a clerk with the Dade County Sheriff’s Department, a job her father helped arrange, in order to help finance college. The office was located in the county courthouse, so she was able to sneak down at lunchtime to watch the lawyers in action.12 She graduated from Cornell in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. By this time, however, she had abandoned any thoughts she had of becoming a doctor, and had decided to apply to law school. She chose not to tell her mom, given her mother’s well-known disdain of lawyers. When she finally did deliver the news to her mother that she had been accepted to Harvard Law School Jane was ecstatic for Janet.13 Janet would become a lawyer, like her Georgia grandfather, George Washington Wood, Jr., despite, as she has described, “such handicaps as not terribly distinguished college grades and what was then often considered second-place gender.”14 She says she wanted to become a lawyer because she didn’t like people bossing her around and telling her what to do.15 WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu LAW SCHOOL Like other female legal pioneers, Reno was one of only 16 women, among a group of more than 500 men, in her class at Harvard Law School.16 Harvard had only begun to admit women in 1950, so she still had to deal with a lot of the close-mindedness that other women in her position have had to face. “People told me I couldn’t be a lawyer because I was a woman,” she says.17 She was subjected to the infamous “Ladies’ Day,” where one of the professors would sit all the women in the class in front, while he sat with the male students and questioned them.18 She remembers never feeling as lost as she did while in law school. The pervasive attitude in those days, according to U.S. Senator Bob Graham who met Reno while at law school, was “that a woman in law school just took a position that should have been filled by a man who was going to practice the law and provide for a family.”19 Reno recalls even the law school dean, Erwin N. Griswold, telling the women in her class that he did not know what they were going to do with their legal educations.20 Like all the women before her, her fierce drive and independence guided her through those seeming endless years at law school. She reflects upon it as the best educational experience she ever had.21 It is characteristic of Reno to value and to find a positive learning experience in even the most difficult situations. Reno graduated from Harvard in June of 1963. After graduating from law school Reno made a promise to herself that she would never do anything that she did not enjoy doing.22 EARLY LEGAL CAREER Upon graduating from law school Reno returned to the Miami law firm of Brigham & Brigham, where she had spent the Summer between her second and third years of law school. While there she handled a variety of real estate work, becoming a specialist in eminent domain. She spent four years at the firm, appearing in court frequently on lower-profile cases. Her one complaint of private practice was that she found it difficult charging a person to protect their rights. Early in her career she joined Miami’s chapter of the Young Democrats. Soon after she volunteered for the campaign of Gerald Lewis, who was running for Florida state legislature. She co-managed the campaign with Lewis’s wife, Ann, who went on later to become a well-known Democratic political consultant. This was the beginning of the political connections she would establish that would later prove invaluable to her career. Lewis won the election. He and Reno then formed their own two-person firm, Lewis & Reno. Their practice included wills, real estate closings, and various business transactions. All the while the Janet continued to live with her parents in her girlhood house. Even age failed to take away any of Her mother’s spirit and sense of adventure. At the age of fifty-two Jane took a sleeping bag and set off by herself to hike 104 miles of deserted east-coast beach, where she boasted that she was able to go skinny-dipping every day.23 Janet’s father Henry died of a heart attack in August of 1967. But the Reno clan continued to grow, through the marriages of Janet’s three siblings and the births of her seven nieces and nephews. The Renos also acted as a surrogate family for kids from other families, including the Lewis children after the divorce of WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu their parents. Patty, the youngest recalls her times at the Reno house with great fondness, saying that Janet taught her how to dig for fishing worms and how to iron her clothes. About the teachings, Patty comments, “No one ever told me or my sisters we couldn’t do something because we were girls. Janet didn’t teach me to iron because of my gender, but because she saw it as a simple survival skill like fishing, chopping wood and cooking.”24 In 1971 Reno was hired by state representative Talbot D’Alemberte, an old friend, to be general counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Reno had met D’Alemberte years earlier on the Lewis campaign. While with the Committee, Reno authored the state’s no-fault divorce law and drafted the legal terminology that reformed Florida’s courts.25 She was profiled in the Miami News with the headline, “Drafting Laws a Snap for Lady Legal Eagle.” The article quoted Reno as saying “‘I’d like to get married and have four children. I wouldn’t mind at all trading a political career for that.’”26 During this time Reno dated a lawyer by the name of Dan Kavanaugh, whom she had met at a campaign rally in 1964. They dated for about ten years, causing friends to speculate about a possible marriage. In the end, their career demands kept them from the alter and they went their separate ways, but they remained good friends.27 In 1972 Reno ran for the state legislature. Although she won the primary, and was predicted to coast through the general election, Richard Nixon’s coattails proved to be extremely long, as Republicans throughout the country marched to victory. After her loss, Reno recalled some advice, given to her during the campaign by Florida politician John Orr: “Do and say what you think is right. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t equivocate. Don’t speak out of both sides of your mouth. Say what you believe and you will wake up the next morning feeling good about yourself.”28 She has tried to live by this ever since. The day after losing the election Dade State Attorney Richard Gerstein offered Reno a job because he like her style. She questioned why he would offer her a job. “My father was always convinced you were a crook,” she said. “And I’ve always been a critic of yours.” To which Gerstein replied, “That’s just why I want to hire you.”29 One of Reno’s chief duties during her tenure with the office was to develop and administer a juvenile division. Although she had told herself that she would never become a prosecutor, because she felt that they were “more interested in securing convictions than seeking justice,” 30 she vowed to work by the principle that her top priority is not to convict the guilty, but to protect the innocent.31 After almost four years with the state attorney’s office Reno left because, by her own account, she wanted “to practice law.”32 She accepted a partnership at one of Miami’s most prestigious law firms, Steel Hector & Davis. The irony in her accepting the position was that she had been turned down for a position by this very firm when she was in law school, because she was a woman.33 She had characteristically refused to take the earlier rejection as a personal reflection on her abilities. She remained with the firm for a year and a half, trying civil cases. WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu LIFE AS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL In late 1977, when Gerstein retired from the head prosecutor’s job, he recommended that the Governor appoint either Reno or a current chief prosecutor from his office to replace him. Those on the inside say it was never even close; Reno had the job hands down.34 With her appointment she became the first female state attorney in Florida history.35 She used the opportunity to hire women to fill half of her first group of sixteen appointments.36 Since the appointment to replace Gerstein was done on an interim basis to fill the remainder of his elected term, Reno had to run for the office when his term expired in 1978. She won 76% of the vote in the primary, and ran unopposed in the general election.37 Reno had begun to establish a reputation as being a competent and fair prosecutor. Just one year into her Dade job she was praised by many as a liberal prosecutor who could soon be Governor of Florida.38 It was not all that effortless, though— not by a long shot. Like her initiation as the nation’s first female U.S. Attorney General, her introduction to her job as Dade’s top prosecutor was a baptism by fire. Her first five years in the job were the most turbulent in Miami history. In early 1979, during a joint undercover drug investigation with the federal agents, DEA and Customs Service memos critical of her investigation were leaked to the newspaper.39 The operation was botched, and ended in chaos, with the regional head of the DEA threatening to arrest Reno’s men. Reno stood her ground, and threatened to arrest him for obstruction of Justice if he did arrest her men.40 She won that battle. She was accustomed to heated debate with men— at home around the front porch table with her two brothers and father she had learned not to back down to men. Reno remained tough, in a career dominated by men and sexism. In one of the leaked DEA memos Reno had been described as “hysterical.”41 Also in 1979 five white police officers raided a suspected drug house and beat its black occupants for resisting arrest. The problem was, it was the wrong house. The house’s occupants were a well-known black school teacher and his twenty-two year old son. Reno announced that her office could not prosecute the officers, since they had simply made a mistake and lacked no criminal intent. Not long after, Reno’s office prosecuted several highly respected black public officials on corruption and theft charges.42 Reno was strongly criticized by the black community. The racial strife was just beginning. In 1980 riots erupted n Miami after an all-white male jury acquitted four white police officers in the death of a black man who was severely beaten in an encounter with police.43 The committee that investigated the race riots issued a report criticizing Reno, saying that her office handled the ensuing cases involving white police officers and black citizens “in such a way as to support the black community’s perception of the office as racist.”44 Eighteen people died in the riots, and there was $100 million in property damage. All the while, angry rioters chanted, “Reno! Reno! Reno!”45 Reno had to defend herself against repeated attacks from the black community leaders that she was a racist. Miami’s black leaders focused on her, when looking to lay the blame for the race riots.46 They called for her removal from office.47 The NAACP, of which she is a member, called for her resignation.48 Garth Reeves, the black publisher of the Miami Times, said that Reno “is to WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu the black community what Hitler was to the Jews.”49 Even Jesse Jackson went to Miami to meet with the black leaders, saying that, “There is a growing consensus that her office is a source of humiliation to black people, and she has become a symbol of oppression to all of us.”50 She refused to step down, even temporarily.51 She said that if she allowed a relatively small group to overcome the will of the people it would be tantamount to “anarchy and destruction of the democratic process.” 52 It was an election year, so she instead invited her critics to vote her out of office in November.53 In typical Reno fashion, she offered to let anyone examine her office’s files on that and another controversial prosecution where race was an issue.54 Instead of lying low, as many politicians now do during bouts of unpopularity in the hope that the maxim “out of sight, out of mind” will prevail, Reno went to the people. In the face of this incredible unpopularity, she took every opportunity she could to go into the community and talk about the controversial cases. The public recognized that she was not doing this because she wanted to be re-elected, but because of her true concern for the citizens. She went to community breakfasts, lunches, and potluck church suppers— whatever it took to get herself heard by the black community. “I’ve hung in there,” she would tell her audiences.55 One of her earliest and staunchest critics during that period was black sociologist Marvin Dunn. He was one of the first to call for her resignation. “I have never seen the amount of hatred directed at one public official,” he would later say. Referring to her going into the community, he added, “She earned a lot of respect by doing that. She went to every meeting and answered every question. And now she could even run against a black candidate and win an awful lot of black votes”56 Reno had no handlers telling her what to do, she simply did what she felt was the right thing to do, a teaching she lives by steadfastly. About his call for her resignation, Dunn has said, “I’m glad she ignored me.”57 When the November election did roll around, Reno was unopposed.58 “‘To explain peremptory challenges, immunity, change of venue, and other concepts— to enable the public to understand— has been one of the most difficult and demanding aspects of the job,’” she would later admit.59 She would also admit years later that the charges of racism “hurt deeply.”60 Throughout this entire time her phone number in Dade County remained listed, as always, in the phone book.61 And people would call, at all hours of the night, whether it was to complain to her about a neighbor’s rooster crowing too loudly or to seek her help with a personal problem. There were some days during this period when Reno must have been struck by her mother’s wish that both her daughters had been disco dancers. Jane would say that politics “takes do much time and it pays less money.” “But I can’t dance,” was Reno’s response.62 Of Janet, her mother would say, “She loves pressure more than prestige.”63 In a 1982 letter that Reno wrote to her college roommate Bettina Dudley she questioned her political rehabilitation. “Simply for telling the truth, she wrote “I am something of a folk hero and everyone’s congratulating me...I will never understand the public.”64 In 1988, in the very neighborhood that was the scene of all the race riots, she was the most popular politician when she marched in the city’s Martin Luther King Parade.65 As the unpleasant memories of the horrible racial incidents of 1979 and 1980 began to fade, other WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu cases with racial overtones involving the police reared their ugly heads again in Miami. In 1984, in an incident that sparked more racial violence, another police officer was acquitted in the death of yet another black man.66 Thinking Reno could not survive one more of these types of cases, opponents lined up against her when it came time to file for the 1984 election. When November came around, Reno beat her first formidable opponent in years, Miami City Attorney Jose Garcia-Pedrosa. Garcia-Pedrosa had not only outspent Reno by $100,000, he had been endorsed by her father’s longtime employer, The Miami Herald. After months of once again being vilified by some in the black community, her largest margin of victory came among the black electorate, where she tallied 75% of the vote.67 Reno actually polled 23, 676 more votes in her Dade County race than Ronald Reagan did among the same voters in his presidential race.68 She had remarkably risen from the ashes once again. Reno is thought by some to be a bad manager.69 According to some Floridians, when Reno was Dade county state prosecutor, everything ran smoothly when she had a strong deputy; when she did not, she usually got into trouble. 70 But her peers saw her quite differently. According to Ed Austin, who had been the Jacksonville state attorney for twenty years, she was the most effective, and the leader of the twenty elected state attorneys.71 In fact, the group of Florida prosecutors elected her president of their association.72 No one, though, disputes how hard she works. She almost always brought her lunch into work in a brown paper bag, and ate at her desk while working.73 She has also been known to keep a sleeping bag in the office for when she pulls all- nighters.74 She is also often criticized for sounding more like a social worker than a prosecutor. She is staunchly Democratic on her views on the causes of crime. She believes crime stems from the decline of the family unit.75 She is known for her views, such as “You have to trust people, to give them support up front so they avoid crisis....if you give then half a chance, they will be self- sufficient....Nobody really wants to be on Welfare. They don’t want to be dependent.”76 When commenting on her experience heading the Dade County Prosecutors office, where she saw an extraordinary number of drug cases during her tenure, she says, “Treatment, is a lot cheaper than prison.”77 It is these views that cause many to comment that she would have made a great Health and Human Services Secretary. While in Florida, Governor Chiles seriously considered her for secretary of health and rehabilitative service, the state equivalent of HHS.78 One observer of her prosecutorial days in Florida observed that Reno “view[ed] her job as that of a technician. She follows the law and fails to grasp the enormous political implications of her actions.”79 For her part, Reno is fine with that analysis, claiming that “all a prosecutor should do is operate on the evidence and the law. This is no place for politics.”80 She so obviously disdains politics, and has even been described as having a “stubbornly perverse” distaste for politics.81 Never one to avoid controversy, she once brought suit against the county housing agency, calling it a “public menace.”82 She brought the suit on behalf of the poor, in an attempt to require the agency to make much-needed repairs to public housing units.83 In Reno’s ugliest race for reelection she ran against Jack Thompson, a leader of the growing religious right movement in Florida. While they were debating, Thompson handed Reno a letter WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu with a prepared statement, asking her to check the appropriate to indicate her sexuality: “ I, Janet Reno, am a homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual. If you do not respond then you will be deemed to have checked one of the first two boxes.”84 Reno crumbled the paper, refusing to respond, and it never became an issue. Once again, she won reelection easily. More than a year later Reno was asked to comment on Thompson’s allegation for a profile the Miami Herald was preparing. She said simply, “He has nothing to worry about. I am attracted to strong, brave, rational, and intelligent men.”85 After her extremely successful prosecutorial campaign targeted at deadbeat dads, a female rap artist wrote a tribute in the form of a song to Reno.86 The rap song, which detailed Reno’s efforts at enforcing child-support orders, rose high atop the music charts throughout the country.87 Reno said she didn’t understand all the words, but liked it nonetheless.88 She had made a national name for herself. In 1990 the Democrats wanted her to run for Congress against incumbent Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.89 Nothing ever materialized. Obviously, Reno has had many a bout with unpopularity, and has been at the center of quite a few controversies. In early 1990 the anti-pornography American Family Association picketed her house for what they saw as her “dragging her feet” on an investigation into whether or not the rap group 2 Live Crew’s music violated Florida’s obscenity laws.90 Jack Thompson accused her of slowing down the investigation because the it was the same production company that had released her famous rap single the year before.91 In 1991 she made news when she scolded the new Democratic Governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles.92 The incident occurred after he appointed Reno to his Commission on Government for the People. She questioned publicly why the 37 member commission for the people had 32 white males, mostly wealthy Chiles fundraisers. “‘I don’t think you have any consumers,” Reno said. “I don’t think you have any people among the working poor. These are $3,000 contributors around this table, not $100 contributors.’” 93 Such is Janet Reno. She is known for her brutal honesty. Chiles jokingly threatened to replace her.94 In 1992 Reno ran for Dade state attorney for the last time; Once again, she was unopposed. In 1992 While Hurricane Andrew did extensive damage to the area where the Renos live, it dislodged a single shingle on the house her mom built. Reno and her mother huddled in one of the bedrooms while the Storm roared through. After the storm passed, Reno turned to her mother and said, “Ol lady, you built one hell of a house.”95 Those who know her best say that one of the main reasons she stands apart from other people is that she appears to be indifferent to the judgment of others.96 One of her former top aides, Walter Dellinger, says, “She’s not driven by the need for approval,” and that she is “the single most inner- directed person [he] has ever known, without a doubt.”97 Another thing that those who know her all agree on is the fact that she is not for sale. When she celebrated her ten year anniversary as Dade State Attorney with pizza and champagne, the pizza man tried to give her a discount. She refused.98 She has also been known to get upset with her staff when she figured out that everybody had been donating money to the coffee fund, and had never told her about the collection-- thinking she should not have to contribute. She insisted upon paying her part. WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu Reno’s former Chief Prosecutor, Hank Adorno, said of Reno’s first ten years in office, “When you look at what’s gone on the last ten years, it’s remarkable she has survived. The best you can do in the criminal justice system is survive.”99 Not only has Reno survived, she has thrived. Reno has handled her failures, and they were plentiful during those Dade years, with remarkable poise and candidness. This is probably because she is genuine, honest, and, like with President Truman, the buck stops with her. She accepts the blame when it is due her. CONCLUSION Janet Reno’s mother Jane died on December 21, 1992 at the age of 79.100 Her comments after her mother’s death speak to the essential role that family has played in her life: “[T]he fact that I cared for her and made sure she was okay is as important to me as anything I’ve ever done professionally...A commitment to family should be, and personally to me has been, as rewarding as anything I’ve ever done.”101 President Bill Clinton nominated Reno to be U.S. Attorney General on February 11, 1993, after two failed attempts at nominating other women to the post. The White House was searching for someone with a spotless reputation for the position, after the President’s first two nominees had to withdraw their names from consideration because of ethical questions. The White House would learn, as Senator bob Graham from Florida would vouch to the President, that Reno was “beyond reproach.”102 Her thorough background investigation would confirm this. At the press conference announcing her nomination a reporter asked her if she was a feminist. Her response was, “My mother told me to do my best, to think my best, to do right, and to consider myself a person.” She was confirmed by the Senate in a unanimous 98-0 vote on March 11, 1993. The very next day she was sworn in as the nation’s first female Attorney General. It is a shame that her mother was not around to see it Early in her career as Attorney General, Reno joined her Aunt Winnie, a Women’s Air Service Pilot in World War II, for the dedication of a statute honoring WASPs for their wartime service. Quite appropriately, Reno wore a button on her dress that read, “Write Women Back into History.”103 Janet Reno can be quite demanding of those around her. But few will disagree that she is fiercely loyal and “inspires[s] those around her to reach their full potential.”104 Reno’s nature is summed up best by Pat Lewis, whom Reno acted as a surrogate mother to, with her comments: “You could trust her to be fair in a world that [is] anything but. She could be tough, but she [is] always fair.”105 DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE BIOGRAPHER I chose to profile Janet Reno not only because she is our nation’s first female Attorney General, but because in between college and law school I worked for her for two years, and gained a tremendous amount of respect for her. I noticed that she signs most of her photos with the WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu inscription, “justice for all.” I came to realize, both while working for her and writing about her, that for her it is not just an inscription— it is a way of life. There is much more that needs to be written; I have but scratched the surface. Obviously, unlike with many of the other female legal pioneers, there is a myriad of written material available on her. The most difficult portion of my job was to limit what to include. Since I chose to focus on her life before she was appointed Attorney general, I tried to choose items that would relate the most about Janet Reno, the individual. I wanted readers to get a sense of what makes her tick. I hope I have begun to describe what an absolutely incredible person she is. As I compiled the biography I was struck with the realization that Janet Reno’s life is far more important to women because of the type of person she is— rather than the legal jobs she has held. Her life is instructive to anyone to wishes to be the best person they can be, and move others around them to do the same. The next step is to pick up with her life as Attorney General. I believe there is some written material on this aspect of her life. Seriously, though, it is also extremely helpful to talk to people who have known her and worked with her. There are many people around.....Good luck! WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu Endnotes 1. PAUL ANDERSON, JANET RENO: DOING THE RIGHT THING (1994), at 3. 2. The Nomination of Janet Reno to be Attorney General: Hearings on Her Nomination Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 103rd Cong., 1st Sess. (1993). 3. Anderson, supra note 1, at 23. 4. See generally,Anderson Supra note 1, and any article on Jane Wood Reno. 5. See supra note 2. 6. Anderson, supra note 1, at 20. 7. Id., at 21. 8. Id., at 24. 9. Id. 10. Id., 29-30. 11. Id., at 31-32. 12. Id., at 34. 13. Id., at 36. 14. Margaria Fichtner, Living Today, THE MIAMI HERALD, March 10, 1985, AT 1G. 15. Id. 16. Id.. 17. Id.. 18. Anderson, supra note 1, at 38. 19. Id., at 39. 20. Id., at 38. 21. Id., at 42. 22. Jane Mayer, Janet Reno, Alone, THE NEW YORKER, Dec. 1, 1997, at 40. WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu 23. Anderson, supra note 1, at 54-55. 24. Pat Lewis, Consider yourself A Person, ANISTON STAR, Feb 16, 1993. 25. Anderson, supra note 1, at 60-61. 26. Anderson, supra note 1, at 58. 27. Anderson, supra note 1, at 59-60. 28. Fichtner, supra note 14, at 1G. 29. Dave Von Drehle, After a Rocky Start, Reno is Rock Solid, MIAMI HERALD, Jan. 24, 1988, at 1B. 30. Anderson, supra note 1, at 64. 31. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 32. Anderson, supra note 1, at 66. 33. Fichtner, supra note 14, at 1G. 34. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 35. Jim Malone & Gene Miller, MIAMI HERALD, Jan. 5, 1978, at 1. 36. Anderson, supra note 1, at 70. 37. Anderson, supra note, at 76. 38. Donald P. Baker & George Lardner, Jr., Racism Charge Stings Pioneering Prosecutor; Prosecutor Defends Role in Florida Cases, WASHINGTON POST, May 23, 1980, at A12. 39. Excessive X-Ray Radiation, Lack of Controls in Virginia Cited, THE WASH. POST, May 29, 1979, at A5. 40. Id. 41. Id. 42. Anderson, supra note 1, at 76-77. 43. Robert M. Press, Miami Prosecutor: Police Brutality Cases Often Complex, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, May 23, 1980, at 7. 44. Associated Press, Head of Riot Panel says Study Won’t be Heeded, THE N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 2, WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu 1990, at B16. 45. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 46. Robert M. Press, Miami Prosecutor: Police Brutality Cases Often Complex, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, May 23, 1980, at 7. 47. Baker, supra note 38, at A12. 48. Robert M. Press, Miami Riots: No Easy Answers to ‘Something Building A Long Time, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, May 20, 1980, at 1. 49. Anderson supra note 1, at 77. 50. Id., at 81. 51. Press, supra note 48, at 1. 52. Anderson, Supra note 1, at 80. 53. Id. 54. Press, supra note 46, at 7. 55. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 56. Id. 57. Id. 58. Anderson, supra note 1, at 86. 59. Id., at 82. 60. Id., at 81. 61. Charles Fishman, Janet Reno; A Big-City Prosecutor who talks like a Social Worker, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, June, 1991, at 6. 62. Baker, supra note 47, at A12. 63. Mayer, supra note 22, at 40. 64. Anderson, supra note 1, at 84. 65. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu 66. Anderson, supra note 1, at 94. 67. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 68. Fichtner, supra note 14, at 1G. 69. Mayer, supra note 22, at 43. 70. Id., at 43. 71. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 72. Anderson, supra note 1, at 90. 73. Fichtner, supra note 14, at 1G. 74. Von Drehle, supra note 29, at 1B. 75. Fishman, supra note 61, at 6. 76. Id. 77. Id. 78. Id. 79. Baker, supra note 47, at A12. 80. Id. 81. Mayer, supra note 22, at 42. 82. Barry Klein, Firing of Dade Official Promised / / Would-be Savior of Housing Agency Faces U.S. Indictment, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, May 17, 1989, at 1B. 83. Martin Dyckman, Prosecuting for the Sake of Children, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, May 12, 1991, at 5D. 84. Chuck Philips, The ‘Batman’ who Took on Rap; Obscenity: Lawyer Jack Thompson put his Practice on Hold to Concentrate on Driving 2 Live Crew out of Business In Southern Florida, He is Loved and Loathed, LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 18, 1990, at F1. 85. Anderson, supra note 1, at 100. 86. Marc Fisher, The Word on the Street is Death, WASH. POST, Feb. 12, 1989, at C1. 87. Martha Brannigan, Legislators are Urging Ms. Allen to do an LP Explaining RICO, WALL WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu STREET JOURNAL, Feb. 21, 1989. 88. Id. 89. John C. Van Gieson, et al., Perfect Candidate, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, Jan. 14, 1990, at G4. 90. Maya Bell, Martinez Says 2 Live 2 Lewd, No More Sales to Minor Dudes, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, Feb. 23, 1990, at A1. 91. Id. 92. Fishman, supra note 61, at 6. 93. Id.. 94. Ellen Debenport, Governor Seeking Money for Better Government, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, March 30, 1991, March 30, 1991, 6B. 95. Lucy Morgan, Dade Grand Jury Checks Construction, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Sept. 5, 1992, at 1B. 96. Mayer, supra note 22, at 41. 97. Id., at 42. 98. Von Drehle, supra note, at 1B. 99. Id. 100. Margaria Fichtner & Donna Gehrke, South Florida Pioneer Jane Reno Dies, MIAMI HERALD, Dec. 22, 1992, at B1. 101. Anderson, supra note 1, at 126. 102. Id., at 135. 103. Id., at 20. 104. supra note 2. 105. Lewis, supra note 24. WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu TIMELINE Janet Reno (1938- ) First female U.S. Attorney General Date Event Comments July 21, 1938 Born in Miami, FL First of four children born to Henry and Jane Wood Reno ?1947-1951 Her mother builds the family The experience teachers her house from scratch that “You can do anything you really want to if it is the right thing to do and you put your mind to it.” 1951 Parents send her to live in She travels all around Europe Europe with her uncle, a U.S. on school holidays military judge for one year and gets her writing on her travels published in Miami Herald 1952 Enters high school at Coral Chooses nuclear physicist as Gables High School, FL career focus for social studies project 1956 Graduates from high school Voted “most intelligent” by her classmates 1956 Begins college at Cornell Parents begin practice of University selling a chunk of their homestead to finance their children’s education 1956-1960 Works as a clerk with the Would sneak down at lunch (Summers) Dade County Sheriff’s to watch lawyers in action Department to help finance college (county courthouse) 1959-1960 Elected president of the Women’s Student Government Association at Cornell WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu May, 1960 Graduates from Cornell with a b.s. in chemistry September 1960 Begins law school at Harvard Is one of only 16 women in class (compared to 509 male students) 1962 Rejected for Summer job at The firm had no female Steel, Hector & Davis in lawyers; Reno refuses to take Miami (a well-regarded the rejection personally, goes corporate law firm) to Brigham & Brigham June 1963 Graduates from law school Makes promise to herself that she would never do anything that she didn’t enjoy doing 1963-1967 Returns to Brigham & Handles a variety of real Brigham as an associate estate work, specializing in eminent domain (where she defends property owners against government attempts to take land) 1966 Helps to run the political Lewis wins the lection campaign of friend Gerald Lewis (for FL state house) November 1966 Reno starts own law firm The “Lewis & Reno” law firm with Lewis is composed of just the two of them and one secretary August 1967 Henry Reno dies His body is discovered days after his death in his secluded cabin in the Everglades March 1971 Hired as general counsel to Authored Florida’s no-fault the House Judiciary divorce law and drafted the Committee in Florida legal terminology that reformed Florida’s courts 1971 Profiled in Miami News story Quotes her as saying, “I’d like with headline, “Drafting Laws to get married and have four a Snap for Lady Legal Eagle” children. I wouldn’t mind at all trading a political career for that.” WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu 1972 Runs for state representative Beat five Democrats in the as a Democrat primary, but narrowly loses in general election 1972-1976 Goes to work at Dade State Her chief duty is to set up Attorneys Office Juvenile Division 1976 Signs on as a partner at Steel, This is the same firm that had Hector & Davis earlier rejected her because she was a woman January 1978 Appointed interim Dade State Becomes first female state Attorney by Governor attorney in Florida history; half of her first group of sixteen hires are women September 1978 Runs for election of office Wins with 76% in primary; after her interim term expires runs unopposed in the general 1980 Runs unopposed for Former term as well as this reelection one, is marked by racial strife between blacks and whites in Miami 1981 Reno lobbies state legislature Gets 35% increase for 1982 for increased budget 1984-1986 State’s other 19 prosecutors Prosecutors seek to capitalize elect her president of their on her lobbying clout association 1984 Runs again for reelection Miami Herald refuses to endorse her; Wins by a 2-1 margin 1988 Runs for reelection in ugly race, her challenger accuses her of being easy on pornographers, and suggests it’s because she’s a lesbian 1992 Runs for reelection Capitalizes on publicity of unopposed operation “Court Broom” which she headed February 11, 1993 Nominated by President Nomination comes after two Clinton to be Attorney failed attempts at nominating General other women WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu March 11, 1993 Confirmed by full Senate Vote is 98-0 March 12, 1993 Sworn in as Attorney General Nation’s first female U.S. Attorney General Bibliography Associated Press, Head of Riot Panel says Study Won’t be Heeded, THE N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 2, 1990, at B16. ANDERSON, PAUL, JANET RENO: DOING THE RIGHT THING (1994). Baker, Donald and Lardner, George, Jr., Racism Charge Stings Pioneering Prosecutor; Prosecutor Defends Role in Florida Cases, WASHINGTON POST, May 23, 1980, at A12. Bell, Maya, Martinez Says 2 Live 2 Lewd, No More Sales to Minor Dudes, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, Feb. 23, 1990, at A1. Brannigan, Martha, Legislators are Urging Ms. Allen to do an LP Explaining RICO, WALL STREET JOURNAL, Feb. 21, 1989 Debenport, Ellen, Governor Seeking Money for Better Government, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, March 30, 1991, March 30, 1991, 6B. Dyckman, Martin, Prosecuting for the Sake of Children, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, May 12, 1991, at 5D. Excessive X-Ray Radiation, Lack of Controls in Virginia Cited, THE WASH. POST, May 29, 1979, at A5. Fichtner, Margaria, Living Today, THE MIAMI HERALD, March 10, 1985, AT 1G. Fichtner, Margaria, and Gehrke, Donna, South Florida Pioneer Jane Reno Dies, MIAMI HERALD, Dec. 22, 1992, at B1. Fisher, Marc, The Word on the Street is Death, WASH. POST, Feb. 12, 1989, at C1. Fishman, Charles, Janet Reno; A Big-City Prosecutor who talks like a Social Worker, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, June, 1991, at 6. Klein, Barry, Firing of Dade Official Promised / / Would-be Savior of Housing Agency Faces U.S. Indictment, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, May 17, 1989, at 1B WLHBP womenslegalhistory.stanford.edu Lewis, Pat, Consider yourself A Person, ANISTON STAR, Feb 16, 1993. Malone, Jim, and Miller, Gene, MIAMI HERALD, Jan. 5, 1978, at 1. Mayer, Jane, Janet Reno, Alone, THE NEW YORKER, Dec. 1, 1997, at 40. Morgan, Lucy, Dade Grand Jury Checks Construction, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Sept. 5, 1992, at 1B. The Nomination of Janet Reno to be Attorney General: Hearings on Her Nomination Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 103rd Cong., 1st Sess. (1993). Philips, Chuck, The ‘Batman’ who Took on Rap; Obscenity: Lawyer Jack Thompson put his Practice on Hold to Concentrate on Driving 2 Live Crew out of Business In Southern Florida, He is Loved and Loathed, LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 18, 1990, at F1. Press, Robert M., Miami Riots: No Easy Answers to ‘Something Building A Long Time, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, May 20, 1980, at 1. Press, Robert M., Miami Prosecutor: Police Brutality Cases Often Complex, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, May 23, 1980, at 7. Van Gieson, John C., et al., Perfect Candidate, ORLANDO SENTINEL TRIBUNE, Jan. 14, 1990, at G4. Von Drehle, Dave, After a Rocky Start, Reno is Rock Solid, MIAMI HERALD, Jan. 24, 1988, at 1B.
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