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

Lobbying is legal, helpful and protected

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Advancing a Free Society
Sunday, May 2, 2010

The news media hold themselves out as guardians of the First Amendment to the Constitution, but increasingly some of these organizations seek to vilify people for exercising their rights.

Analysis and Commentary

Lobbying is legal, helpful and protected

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Minneapolis Star Tribune
Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our free-speech guardians sometimes forget the scope of the First Amendment....

Analysis and Commentary

Too many criminal laws

by Edwin Meese IIIvia McClatchy Newspapers
Saturday, April 24, 2010

America is in the throes of "overcriminalization." We are making and enforcing far too many criminal laws that create traps for the innocent but unwary — and threaten to turn otherwise respectable, law-abiding citizens into criminals...

When Ed Meece Speaks

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

There is arguably no more influential conservative in America today than Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese. To paraphrase an old marketing slogan, when Ed Meese talks, people listen.

Analysis and Commentary

Stacking the Deck Against Proposition 8

by Edwin Meese IIIvia New York Times
Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE much-anticipated trial to determine the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 is scheduled to begin this morning in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Invasive and Ineffective

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Proponents of the latest Senate effort to change the nation's immigration laws emphasize border security...

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Good Advice on Iraq

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, April 1, 2007

Contrary to what you may have heard, most of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group are being put into effect—and achieving some success. By Edwin Meese III.

David M. Kennedy

Bring Back The Draft

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Edwin Meese III, David M. Kennedyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Under President Nixon, in 1973 the United States abolished the draft, moving to an all-volunteer armed forces. Now some—most notably New York congressman Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee—have called for a reinstatement of the draft. Is this a good idea? What lessons from history can we call on to help answer this question? And what impact would the reinstatement of the draft have on society as a whole and the military in particular? Peter Robinson speaks with David Kennedy and Edwin Meese. (33:11) Video transcript

Edwin Meese III

The Iraq Study Group

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Edwin Meese IIIvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

As one of the prominent conservative members of the Iraq Study Group, Edwin Meese has drawn withering criticism from the right for the group's recommendations—the National Review calling their final report "dressed-up surrender in Iraq." Just what does the report say about the situation in Iraq, what to do about troop levels, and a "new diplomatic offensive in the Middle East"? Meese takes on the key points and their critics and offers a strong defense of the positions staked out by the Iraq Study Group.(34:33) Video transcript

An Amnesty by Any Other Name

by Edwin Meese IIIvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2006

The president's proposal slights the most important issue in the immigration debate—the rule of law. By Edwin Meese III.