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William Andrew 'Drew' Edmondson

Attorney General Drew Edmondson (right) and his wife Linda.

In office
January 9, 1995 – January 10, 2011
Preceded by Susan B. Loving

Born October 12, 1946 (1946-10-12) (age 63)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Larason Edmondson
Website Edmondson 2010
Oklahoma

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Oklahoma



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William Andrew "Drew" Edmondson (born October 12, 1946), is an American lawyer and politician from Oklahoma. A member of the Democratic Party, Edmondson is the 16th and current Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Contents

Early life

Drew Edmondson was born in Washington, D.C., and is the son of former U.S. Congressman Ed Edmondson and June Edmondson. He is also a nephew of former Governor J. Howard Edmondson. His brother, James E. Edmondson is a Justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. As a child, he grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C. and graduated from Muskogee High School in 1964. In 1968, he earned a B.A. in speech education from Northeastern State University, where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. While a college student, he married Linda Larason of Fargo, Oklahoma. The couple has two children.

Early career

From 1968 to 1972, he served in the United States Navy including a year of duty in Vietnam.[1] From 1974 to 1976, he served one term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He graduated from the University of Tulsa Law School in 1978. That same year, he joined the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office as an intern and became an Assistant District Attorney the following year. Following a brief stint in private practice with his brother, he was elected as Muskogee County District Attorney in 1982, and subsequently reelected unopposed in 1986 and 1990. As District Attorney, he personally prosecuted cases ranging from DUI to death penalty. He resigned in 1992, half way through his third term and reentered private practice.

Attorney General

Edmondson was elected as Oklahoma Attorney General in 1994. During his first term, he joined other state attorneys general in filing suit against the tobacco industry, successfully advocated for reform of the death penalty appeals process, and created a victim assistance unit. In 1998, he became the second Oklahoma Attorney General to win reelection unopposed. He was elected to a third term in 2002, defeating state Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode. During 2002-2003, he served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. Notable cases investigated during his tenure as Attorney General have included the August, 2003 indictment of WorldCom and its former CEO Bernard Ebbers on charges of violating state securities laws although the charges were later dropped following Ebbers's federal sentencing. Furthermore, he conducted a corruption investigation against now-former State Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, which resulted in Fisher's impeachment, resignation, and indictment on charges including embezzlement, tax evasion, perjury, and bribery.

In 2001, Edmondson became involved in a legal dispute with then-Governor Frank Keating over the Governor's restruction of his Cabinet, winning a state Supreme Court ruling that Keating had no authority to restructure his Cabinet without legislative approval in the case of Keating v. Edmondson.

Following the 2002 federal appeals court decision declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, he joined several other state attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Drew Edmondson's legal activities have not been limited to Oklahoma - they have reached as far away as New Jersey. He decided to support a New Jersey lawsuit in 2000 against the Boy Scouts of America, in an attempt to require the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual scout leaders.[2] The Supreme Court ruled against Edmondson's position[3], ruling that the Boys Scouts of America had the authority to set the criteria for leadership within their organization.

In October 2007, Edmondson indicted term limits and initiative rights activist Paul Jacob and two others on the grounds that they had illegally used out-of-state petitioners to collect signatures on a ballot initiative.[4] On December 18, 2008 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the underlying Oklahoma law that barred out of state petition circulators, noting that it was in violation of the First Amendment. Edmondson appealed the decision on behalf of Secretary of State Susan Savage. On January 21, 2009 the Tenth Circuit court denied the state's appeal, effectively ending the case.[5]. The Attorney General's office dismissed the charges against Jacob and the other defendants, with Edmondson saying "The statute under which these defendants were charged has been declared unconstitutional, and the appellate process is complete...The statute is no longer enforceable."[6] on January 22, 2009. The indictment of Jacob drew criticism for being politically motivated. 2008 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader referred to the laws such as the one Jacob was charged with breaking as “Jim Crow laws,” adding, “We’ve seen this before against African Americans.[7] The Wall Street Journal editorialized against the prosecution twice, calling it "bizarre"[8][9], and Steve Forbes asked the question "Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?".[10]

Edmondson was elected to a fourth term in the 2006 election, running against Republican James Dunn in the general election.

2010 Governor's Election

Edmonson announced on June 10, 2009 that he is a candidate for Governor of Oklahoma in the 2010 election cycle.

Awards and honors

On March 6, 2009 Edmondson was honored by his alma mater Northeastern State University with a 100 Centurion award. This award was given to 100 individuals that have had a positive impact on the NSU community in the last 100 years.

References

  1. ^ "About Drew." Campaign Website. Retrieved 10-13-09.
  2. ^ http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-699.ZS.html Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
  3. ^ http://law.onecle.com/ussc/530/530us643.html Edmondson supporting homosexual position against Boys Scouts by filing as a friend of the court.
  4. ^ "Out of State Petition Circulators May Be Out Of Luck This Time." The Edmond Sun, October 8, 2007. Retrieved 10-13-09
  5. ^ "Statement from Tenth Circuit Court"
  6. ^ "Oklahoma won't appeal initiative petition ruling.". Daily Oklahoman, January 22, 2009
  7. ^ "YouTube: Ralph Nader on CSPAN" FreePaulJacob.com. Retrieved 10-13-09
  8. ^ "Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007
  9. ^ "Still Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2008
  10. ^ "Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?", Forbes.com, November 26, 2007
Political offices
Preceded by
Susan B. Loving
Attorney General of Oklahoma
1995 - present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Harlan Henry
Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Oklahoma
1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Most recent







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