Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Edward H. Levi (1975–1977): Attorney General

Edward Hirsh Levi was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 26, 1911. He received his Ph.D. in 1932 and his J.D. in 1935 from the University of Chicago. He received a J.D. degree from Yale University in 1938, where he had been a Sterling Fellow from 1935 to 1936. Levi became an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago (1936-1940, 1945-1950). He later became dean of the Law School in 1950, provost of the University (1962), and president of the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1975.

He took a leave of absence from the University of Chicago during World War II to be a special assistant to the attorney general (1940-1945), serving in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice as head of its Consent Decree Division. In 1943, he served as the first assistant in the Justice Department's War Division. He was also chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Monopolies and Cartels in 1944.

During his academic career, he served in a number of capacities, including chief counsel to the Subcommittee on Monopoly Power of the House Judiciary Committee (1950), member of the White House Central Group on Domestic Affairs (1964), and member of the White House Task Force on Education (1966-1967). During the Richard Nixon administration, Levi was on the President's Task Force on Priorities in Higher Education from 1969 to 1970 and was a member of the National Commission on Productivity and the National Council on the Humanities.

President Gerald Ford appointed Levi as the nation's 71st Attorney General on February 7, 1975, to replace William Saxbe. While at Justice, Levi spearheaded new guidelines for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and vigorously prosecuted antitrust cases. Levi also worked closely with President Ford in establishing the administration's response to the busing crisis, particularly in the city of Boston.

After his service in the Ford administration, Levi returned to the University of Chicago. He died in 2000 of complications due to Alzheimer's disease.