Janet Reno Dead At 78

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The first woman to be selected as U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno, died yesterday at the age of 78.

Janet Reno, the strong-minded Florida prosecutor tapped by Bill Clinton to become the country’s first female U.S. attorney general, and who shaped the U.S. government’s responses to the largest legal crises of the 1990s, died Nov. 7 at her home in Miami. She was 78.

The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, her goddaughter, Gabrielle D’Alemberte, told the Associated Press.

Ms. Reno brought a fierce independence to her job. From the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas to the investigation into Clinton’s sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, she was adamant that her prosecutors and agents work outside of the influence of politics, media or popular opinion.

Her supporters believed she brought a heightened level of integrity and professionalism to the attorney general’s office. They admired her insistence upon legal exactitude from her employees, and praised her caution in prosecutions.

Such quaint and outdated notions, eh, Mr. Comey?

As a lawyer only two years out of law school when Reno was appointed, I saw her as an exemplar of what a good lawyer should be in the realm of politics. Do the right thing, always, and stare down those who criticize you and take the hits as a badge of honor. There were and are plenty of opportunistic lawyers at the highest levels of politics; what we need are more people like Janet Reno. RIP, Madam Attorney General.

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