Bell, Griffin B., 1918-2009

Alternative names
Birth 1918-10-31
Death 2009-01-05

Biographical notes:

Griffin B. Bell (1918- ), Judge for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (1961-1976) and U.S. District Attorney General (1977-1979).

From the description of Griffin B. Bell oral history interviews, 1990 June 12 and Sept. 19. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38477621

Griffin Boyette Bell was born in Americus, Georgia, on 31 October 1918. He served in the United States Army, attaining the rank of Major, from 1941 to 1946 and graduated cum laude from Mercer University Law School with an LL.B. degree in 1948. Bell practiced law in Georgia from 1948 until 1961 when he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Bell served on the Fifth Circuit for fifteen years until President Jimmy E. Carter's nomination to become the 72nd Attorney General of the United States. Bell received the attorney general oath of office from Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in January 1977 and served until August 1979. In his private practice, Bell joined the law firm King and Spaulding in Atlanta, Georgia in 1953. He became managing partner in 1958, and served as senior partner until January 2004 when he became senior counsel of the firm. He conducted investigations such as internal reviews for E.F. Hutton's Board of Directors regarding fraud charges and an independent review of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska for the board of directors of the Exxon Company and managed the estate of Howard Hughes. Bell served on Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's ad hoc Advisory Committee on new rules governing military tribunals in 2002, served on the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee for the Department of Defense, and chaired a study group regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Office of Professional Responsibility in 2003. In addition, he was selected by the Defense Department as a member of the Review Panel for Military Commissions and served as Chief Judge until resigning in November 2007. Griffin Bell died on 5 January 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 90.

From the description of Griffin B. Bell papers, circa 1952-2009 (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 636542396


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  • Lawyers
  • Judges
  • Local transit
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives
  • African Americans--Political activity
  • College integration
  • Attorneys general
  • Presidents--Election--1960
  • Criminal justice, Administration of
  • School integration
  • Court administration


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  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)