Former U.S. attorney general, attorney. Born on July 21, 1938, in Miami, Florida. Janet Reno broke new ground in 1993 when became the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1960, she attended Harvard Law School. Reno graduated in 1963 and returned to her native Florida.
After several years in private practice, Janet Reno ran for county prosecutor for Dade County in the late 1970s. She served in that position from 1978 to 1993, developing a reputation as tough, outspoken, unpretentious, and liberal. Her cases varied greatly from political corruption to child abuse, which she skillfully handled. Reno was thrust into the national spotlight in 1993 when she was appointed U.S. attorney general by President Bill Clinton.
During the early days of her tenure as U.S. attorney general, Reno faced one of her biggest challenges. Self-proclaimed messiah David Koresh and his followers known as the Branch Davidians ended up in a stand off with agents from Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, she was called upon to help resolve the situation. Reno approved the siege against the Branch Davidians compound near Waco, Texas. Unfortunately, it did not go as planned and many Branch Davidians (including Koresh) died during the event. Reno publicly took responsibility for the deadly siege.
Despite this controversy, Reno became one of the most respected members of the Clinton administration in its first term, known for launching innovative programs designed to steer non-violent drug offenders away from jail and espousing the rights of criminal defendants. Her readiness to nominate special prosecutors to investigate the president drew fire from the White House, but her political position was unassailable. Republicans attacked her handling of the campaign fund-raising scandal linked to the 1996 election, and there were some calls for her to step down. The anti-trust suit against Microsoft, Inc. in the late 1990s was the most publicized policy action of her tenure.
After leaving the post in 2001, Reno returned to Florida. She ran for governor in 2002, but failed to win the Democratic nomination. Since then, Reno has largely stayed out of public life. She did, however, testify before the federal 9/11 commission in 2004 and voice her opposition to some of the nation’s antiterrorism policies through a legal brief in 2006.
Biography courtesy of BIO.com
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Janet Reno. (2013). The History Channel website. Retrieved 12:49, December 9, 2013, from http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno.
Janet Reno. [Internet]. 2013. The History Channel website. Available from: http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno [Accessed 9 Dec 2013].
“Janet Reno.” 2013. The History Channel website. Dec 9 2013, 12:49 http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno.
“Janet Reno,” The History Channel website, 2013, http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno [accessed Dec 9, 2013].
“Janet Reno,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno (accessed Dec 9, 2013).
Janet Reno [Internet]. The History Channel website; 2013 [cited 2013 Dec 9] Available from: http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno.
Janet Reno, http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno (last visited Dec 9, 2013).
Janet Reno. The History Channel website. 2013. Available at: http://www.history.com/topics/janet-reno. Accessed Dec 9, 2013.