Janet Reno

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Janet Reno was nominated by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993 to be the 78th Attorney General of the United States. She was the first woman Attorney General of the United States. During her term she:

  • Took responsibility for ordering the FBI raid on the Branch Davidian compound near near Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993 which lead to the death of approximately 80 men, women, and children including it's leader, David Koresh.
  • Refused to appoint an independent counsel to investigate alleged campaign fundraising abuses by the Clinton administration even after FBI Director Louis Freeh told her it was his opinion an independent counsel should be appointed
  • reunited Elian Gonzalez with his Cuban father

Republicans criticized her for protecting Clinton - though she seemed not to have been part of his inner circle. Civil libertarians complained of her support of expansion of Federal death penalty statues and limits on habeas corpus. She was known to be a strong advocate for strict gun control legislation.

She appears to be planning a run for governor of Florida from her home in Kendall, near Miami.

Text from the Department of Justice website at: www.usdoj.gov

Born on July 21, 1938 in Miami, Florida. Her father, Henry Reno, came to the United States from Denmark and for forty-three years was a police reporter for the Miami Herald. Jane Wood, Reno's mother, raised her children and then became an investigative reporter for the Miami News. Janet Reno has three younger siblings. Strong roots for a strong woman

Janet Reno attended public school in Dade County, Florida, where she was a debating champion at Coral Gables High School. In 1956 Janet Reno enrolled at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she majored in chemistry, became president of the Women's Self Government Association, and earned her room and board.

In 1960 Janet Reno enrolled at Harvard Law School, one of only sixteen women in a class of more than 500 students. She received her LL.B. from Harvard three years later. Despite her Harvard degree, she had difficulty obtaining work as a lawyer because she was a woman.

In 1971 Janet Reno was named staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives. She helped revise the Florida court system. In 1973 she accepted a position with the Dade County State's Attorney's Office. She left the state's attorney's office in 1976 to become a partner in a private law firm.

In 1978, Reno was appointed State Attorney General for Dade County. She was elected to the Office of State Attorney in November 1978 and was returned to office by the voters four more times. She helped reform the juvenile justice system and pursued delinquent fathers for child support payments and established the Miami Drug Court.