Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Edwin Meese (1985–1988): Attorney General

Edwin Meese was born on December 2, 1931. He graduated from Yale University in 1953 and then obtained a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Meese then worked as deputy district attorney of Alameda County, California.

When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, Meese was his legal affairs secretary (1967-1968) as well as his executive assistant and chief of staff (1969-1974). He returned to private life thereafter, working as vice president for administration of Rohr Industries (1975-1976) and then as a law professor at the University of San Diego, where he held the position of director of the Center for Criminal Justice and Policy and Management (1977-1981).

During the 1980 presidential campaign, Meese was chief of staff for the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George Bush; following the election, he ran the White House transition team.

During the Reagan administration, Meese served as counselor for political affairs from 1981 to 1985 and as attorney general from February 1985 to August 1988.