#94: Janet Reno


janet renoJanet Reno was born in 1938 in Miami, Florida. She was the eldest of four siblings. Her parents were both journalists, her father a police reporter, her mother an investigative reporter. Janet attended public school in Dade County.

In 1956, Janet enrolled at Cornell University, majoring in chemistry. After her graduation from Cornell, she went to Harvard Law School, one of only 16 women in the 500 person enrolling class of 1960. Between her graduation in 1963 and 1971, she worked at two private law firms.

In 1971, Janet became the staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives. Two years later, she accepted a position at the Dade County State Attorney General's Office. In 1978, she became the Dade County State Attorney General. She served in this position until 1992, which was surprising, given that she was a Democrat in a heavily Republican county.

In 1993, Janet became the first female Attorney General of the United States. She was the third nomination by President Clinton, after the first two were rejected due to having used illegal immigrants for childcare. While she was in office, Janet had low points, mostly notably the FBI-Branch Dividian standoff in Waco, Texas, but she also had many high points. She sent antitrust violators to prison for price-fixing and prosecuted violations of ecological statutes with previously unseen vigor, as well as overseeing the prosecution of the Unabomber and the Oklahoma City bombers.

After the end of the Clinton administration, Janet made an unsuccessful run for Florida Governor in 2002. Since the, she has retired from politics, though she still frequently lecturers.

Women's International Center
About: Women's History


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