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Edward H. Levi


In office
1975 – 1977
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by William B. Saxbe
Succeeded by Griffin Bell

Born July 26, 1911(1911-07-26)
Chicago, Illinois,
United States
Died March 7, 2000 (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois,
United States
Political party Republican
Children David F. Levi
Michael Levi
John Levi
Alma mater University of Chicago
Yale University
Religion Jewish

Edward Hirsch Levi (June 26, 1911 – March 7, 2000) was an American academic leader, scholar, and statesman who served as United States Attorney General.

Early life

Levi was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son and grandson of rabbis. He received his A.B. Phi Beta Kappa from the undergraduate college of the University of Chicago in 1932, and later his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School in 1935. The following year he was named an assistant professor of law at the Law School and was admitted to the Illinois bar. He earned a J.S.D. from Yale University, where he was also a Sterling Fellow in 1938.

Education and political career

During World War II he served as a special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States. In 1945, he returned to the University of Chicago Law School and was named dean of the law school in 1950. In 1950, he also worked as chief counsel for the Subcommittee on Monopoly Power of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. He resigned as law school dean and became provost of the university in 1962.

He was a member of the White House Central Group on Domestic Affairs in 1964, the White House Task Force on Education from 1966 to 1967 and the President's Task Force on Priorities in Higher Education from 1969 to 1970.

He became the University of Chicago's president in 1968, serving until 1975, when President Gerald R. Ford appointed him 71st Attorney General of the United States. Levi was the first Jewish Attorney General of the United States.

During his term as Attorney General, he issued a set of guidelines (in 1976) to limit the activities of the FBI. These guidelines required the FBI to show evidence of a crime before using secret police techniques like wiretaps or entering someone's home without warning. These guidelines were replaced by new ones issued in 1983 by Ronald Reagan's Attorney General, William French Smith. He also successfully urged President Ford to appoint fellow Chicagoan John Paul Stevens to the United States Supreme Court.

Later life

After his term as Attorney General, he returned to teaching at the University of Chicago's Law School and College. He was a visiting professor at Stanford University Law School from 1977 to 1978.

He was the author of An Introduction to Legal Reasoning, which was first published in 1949 and his speeches were collected in Point of View: Talks on Education.

He was a trustee of the University of Chicago and the MacArthur Foundation. He was a chairman and a member of the Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility.

He died in Chicago, Illinois, aged 88, of Alzheimer's disease on March 7, 2000.

He has three sons, David, Michael, and John. Former federal judge David F. Levi, is the current dean of Duke Law School.

Academic offices
Preceded by
George W. Beadle
President of the University of Chicago
1968—1975
Succeeded by
John T. Wilson
Legal offices
Preceded by
William B. Saxbe
United States Attorney General
Served under: Gerald Ford

1975–1977
Succeeded by
Griffin B. Bell
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