Edwin Meese III

Awards and Honors:

Edwin Meese was formerly a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served as the seventy-fifth attorney general of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988.

Meese is also a distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; a regent emeritus of the National College of District Attorneys; and a member of the board of trustees of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. He received a Bradley Prize in 2012.

Before serving as US attorney general, he was counselor to the president from 1981 to 1985. In this capacity he functioned as the president's chief policy adviser and had management responsibility for the administration of the Cabinet, policy development, and planning and evaluation. During the time he held these positions, Meese was also a member of the president's cabinet and the National Security Council.

Meese headed the president-elect's transition effort following the November 1980 election. During the presidential campaign, he served as chief of staff and senior issues adviser for the Reagan-Bush committee.

Formerly he served as Governor Reagan's executive assistant and chief of staff in California from 1969 through 1974 and as legal affairs secretary from 1967 through 1968. Before joining Governor Reagan’s staff in 1967, Meese served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County, California.

From 1977 to 1981, Meese was a professor of law at the University of San Diego, where he was also director of the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management.

In addition to his background as a lawyer, educator, and policy official, Meese has been a business executive in the aerospace and transportation industry. He is also the author or coauthor of two books, With Reagan: The Inside Story (Regnery Gateway, 1992) and Leadership, Ethics and Policing (Prentice Hall, 2004).

He is active in numerous civic and educational organizations and a retired colonel in the US Army Reserve.

Meese is a graduate of Yale University (1953) and holds a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

Uncommon Knowledge
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Drug Decriminalization

interview with Edwin Meese III, Joseph D. McNamaravia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 18, 2017


Special Rerelease of the First Episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Twenty-One Years Later

US attorney general Edwin Meese III and former San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara
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Drug Decriminalization

interview with Edwin Meese III, Joseph D. McNamaravia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Special Rerelease of the First Episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Twenty-One Years Later.

Reagan: A Life in Letters
Analysis and Commentary

O'Reilly's "Killing Reagan": Fiction, Posing As Biography

by Edwin Meese III, John Heubusch mentioning Martin Anderson, Annelise Anderson, Kiron K. Skinnervia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

There are over a thousand books on the subject of Ronald Reagan and his presidency. Some books offer keen insight into the man and benefit those seeking an accurate picture of the Reagan years. Unfortunately, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s latest offering, “Killing Reagan,” is not among them.

Analysis and Commentary

We Need Thoughtful, Not Expedient, Criminal Justice Reform

by Edwin Meese III, Ron Hoskovia The Hill
Monday, October 19, 2015

Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, keenly aware of simmering voter discontent, stood together to announce a criminal justice reform bill purportedly designed to balance the wishes of the political left’s sentencing reform movement and the conservative, “tough on crime” crowd on Capitol Hill.  But, in their effort to produce a compromise reform bill that would appease both sides, these D.C. insiders may again be creating more problems than they solve.

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Analysis and Commentary

On Constitution Day

by Edwin Meese IIIvia The Weekly Standard
Thursday, September 17, 2015

In 1878, William Gladstone described the U.S. Constitution as “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” Gladstone was right.

Analysis and Commentary

Why The Supreme Court Should Strike Down Obamacare Subsidies

by Edwin Meese III, J. Kenneth Blackwellvia USA Today
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two questions will dictate not only the future of healthcare, but also the balance of power between Washington, D.C., and the states, and the separation of powers between the federal branches. One concerns state sovereignty, the other the heckler's veto.

Barack Obama
Analysis and Commentary

What Republicans Can Do Now To Fight Back Against Obama’s Amnesty Decision

by Edwin Meese III, Mike Needhamvia Daily Signal
Sunday, December 7, 2014

The lame-duck session presents the first test for Republican leadership in the House and Senate since the American people overwhelmingly spoke on Election Day.  As usual, President Obama and congressional Democrats are playing their Washington games.

Analysis and Commentary

Preventing Domestic Violence

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Washington Times
Friday, November 7, 2014

When we began working together in the crime-victim assistance field more than 30 years ago, domestic violence was considered simply a “family matter.” A typical law enforcement response in the 1980s would be to walk the alleged perpetrator around the block to “cool off.” Victims of domestic violence were not even eligible for crime-victim compensation to help pay for the associated costs with these violent crimes because they were not considered “innocent victims.”

Analysis and Commentary

How to fraud-proof elections

by Edwin Meese III, J. Kenneth Blackwellvia USA Today
Sunday, November 2, 2014

Reforms to make voting more convenient have opened up opportunities to game system.

Healthcare Costs
Analysis and Commentary

Kasich Is Wrong about Reagan

by Edwin Meese IIIvia National Review Online
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The president wouldn't have supported this Medicaid expansion.