Kenneth Starr

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Kenneth ("Ken") Starr (1946-2022) was the President of Baylor University, the former Dean of Pepperdine Law School, a leading appellate attorney, a former judge on the D.C. Circuit and a former Solicitor General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush. Starr was also widely thought to be a leading candidate for the Supreme Court vacancy ultimately filled by David Souter.

The full story of how and why Ken Starr was blocked by White House advisors remains untold. Many were stunned when the nomination did not go to Ken Starr or the acclaimed Fifth Circuit judge Edith Jones, but rather to the obscure, underachieving David Souter. John Sununu, then a top advisor to President George H.W. Bush was a backer of Souter, but socially liberal influence by a Federalist Society official may have played a larger role in blocking Starr and Jones.

In 1994, Starr was appointed Independent Counsel to investigate the death of Vince Foster and the Whitewater scandal; his 1997 report led subsequently to the attempted impeachment of President Bill Clinton on charges relating to his indecent affair with Monica Lewinsky. Because he was investigating a Democratic President, Starr was subjected to slanderous personal attacks by liberals.

Starr has argued many of the most important appellate cases in the nation, including successfully defending Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court of California.

While Ken Starr was Solicitor General, he allowed argument in the high-profile abortion-funding case of Rust v. Sullivan to be done by a junior associate in his office, John G. Roberts, who proceeded to go up against and defeat the leading liberal advocate, Laurence Tribe. Later Starr graciously commended Roberts on his nomination and confirmation as Chief Justice of the United States.

See also