Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Politics, Values and the Separation of Powers: Conversation with Abner Jay Mikva, former congressional representative from Illinois, former appellate judge, former counsel to the president; 4/12/99 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Archival photos are courtesy of Judge Mikva.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I am Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our distinguished guest today is Abner Jay Mikva. Mr. Mikva served as White House Counsel from October 1, 1984, until November 1, 1993. Prior to his appointment, he served as Chief Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. He was appointed to the bench on September 27, 1979, and became chief judge on January 21, 1991. Before coming to the bench, he was elected to Congress for five terms, representing portions of Chicago and its suburbs. Judge Mikva served on both the Ways and Means Committee and the Judiciary Committee while in Congress. He started his political career in 1956 in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served five consecutive terms. This year, he is a Jefferson Lecturer at the University of California.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... interest in politics ... importance of education ... books read ... Clarence Darrow as a role model
  2. Heroes ... clay feet ... then and now ... "Nobody sent me." ... Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas ... principles and ideas in politics
  3. Congress ... getting elected ... importance of principle ... winning ... the art of legislating
  4. Judge ... recruitment ... judges and politics ... public dissatisfaction with the courts ... lessons of Roe v. Wade ... judicial and the political process
  5. Counsel to the President ... presidential responsibility ... consensus and the President ... the power of the media ... no heroes in Clinton impeachment ... political consequences of Whitewater and impeachment ... impeachment as a political, not legal, process
  6. Advice to Students ... making a difference ... the need for civility ... how to prepare ... making money vs. public service

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