Oral History Project
The Historical Society-of the
District of Columbia Circuit
United States Courts
District of Columbia Circuit
Herbert S. Miller, Jr., Esquire
Interviews conducted by:
Howard P. Willens, Esquire
November 14 and November 15, 1995
December 9 and December 11, 1996
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Oral Histciiy. A.greements
Herbert J. Miller, Jr., Esquire. . ……………………………….. 111
Howard P. Willens, Esquire. . ……………………… …………. v
Oral History Transcript of Interviews on:
November 14, 1995 ………. ……………………………….. I
November 15, 1995 …………………………………………….. 40
December 9, 1996 …………… . . ………………………….. 76
December 11, I 996 ……………………………………………. 114
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Al
Biographical Sketches
Herbert J. Miller, Jr., Esquire ………………………………… Bl
Howard P. Willens, Esquire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B3
The following pages record interviews conducted on the dates indicated. The interviews
were electronically recorded, and the ttanscription was subsequently reviewed and edited
by the interviewee.
The contents hereof and all literary rights pertaining hereto are governed by, and are
subject to, the Oral History Agreements included herewith.
© I 998 Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
All rights reserved.
The goal of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia
Circuit is to preserve the recollections of the judges who sat on the U.S. Courts of the
District of Columbia Circuit, and judges’ spouses, 1awyers and court staff who played
important roles in the history of the Circuit. The Project began in 1991. Most interviews
were conducted by volunteers who are members of the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Copies of the transcripts of these and additional documents as available – some of which
may have been prepared in conjunction with the oraJ history – are housed in the Judges’
Library in the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. Inquiries may be made of the Circuit Librarian as to whether the
transcripts are available at other locations.
Such original audio tapes of the interviews as exist, as well as the original 3.5″ diskettes of
the transcripts (in WordPerfect format) are in the custody of the Circuit Executive of the
U.S. Courts for the District of Columbia Circuit.
November 1, 1994
Historical So¢iety of the District of Columbia Circuit
Interviewee oral Historv Agreement
1. In consideration of the recording and preservation of my oral history memoir by the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D?C,, d its em lqy e nd
.I a9ents (hereinafter “the Society”), I, e ► be –.l. f c.-,t ?
except -aS”‘ otherwise provided herein and n Schedule B attached hereto, do hereby grant and convey to the Society and its successors and assigns all of my right, title, and interest in the tape recordings and transcripts of interviews of me as described in Schedule A hereto, including literary rights and copyrights. All copies of the tapes and transcripts are subject to the same restrictions, herein provided.
2. The foregoing transfer is subject to any eXceptions specified in Schedule 8 hereto.
3. I also reserve the right to use the tapes and transcripts and their content as a resource for any book, pamphlet, article or other vriting of which I am an author or coauthor.
4. I authorize the Society, subject to any exceptions in Schedule B attached hereto, to duplicate, edit, publish, or permit the use of said tape recordings and transcripts in any manner ,that the Society considers appropriate, and I waive any claims? may have or acquire to any ro alties from such use.
LI … .,, b?? ..1 • 1-f; t ( e f\ <“fL?me of Interviewee]
?ORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED.pefore me this tt& day of ‘-“-‘?”‘,,I””-.. ____ , 199.X..,
,. —
My CMnmission bpires July 31, 2002 Ai fuhlic
Hy Commission .expires –?1?1?3?1?/?’.).<)’-“?0?-Z–“-_________ _
ACCEPTEDGribbon, Colwnbia
this /£/t. day of ?l,,..,;t..,.. 19</<$ by Daniel t-L President of the Historical Society of the District of Circuito
Daniel !•lo Gribbon
Schedule A
Tape recording(s) and transcript(s) resulting from
4 interviews of
. dates:!/”·
Nov. 14, 1995
?’ov. 15, 1995
Isc. 9, 1996
D:!c. 11, 1996
Herbert J. Miller
1 tape
1 tape
1 tape
1 tape
All interviews are contained on one diskette.
on the following
49 pages
48 pages
52 pages
46 pages
1/ Identify, specifically for each interview, the date thereof
and (1) the number of tapes being conveyed, (2) the number of
pages of the transcript of that interview, and (3) the diskette
containing the transcript.
Interviewer Form
Historical ·society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Interviewer Oral History Agreement
1. Having agreed to conduct an oral history interview with Herbert J. Miller for the Historical Society of the District of Columbia circuit, Washington, D.C., I, Howard P. Willens, do hereby grant and convey to the Society and its successors and assigns all of my right, title, and interest in the tape recordings
and transcripts (hard copy and computer diskette) of the interviews of Mr. Miller as described in Schedule A hereto, including literary rights and copyrights.
2. I authorize the Society to duplicate, edit, publish, or permit the use of said tape recordings and transcripts in any manner that the Society considers appropriate, and I waive any claims I may have or acquire to any royalties from such use.
3. I agree that I will make no use of the interview or the information contained therein until it is concluded and edited, or until I receive permission from the Society.
4 C•J
of Interviewer Date
SW??O?D SUBSCRIBED,before me this.M. day of 7A”‘?”F-‘=iig=1,.,. __ , 199[. ‘
“711· /MJ.m,? rJf(!ttl}e-,
Notary Public ?
My commission expires ]f1(.ld I
/t/, //”{)d cJ
ACCEPTEDGribben, Columbia
this /,5°/i. day of ?? .. 19’Jj: by Daniel M. President of the Historical society of the District Circuit.
Daniel M. Gribbon
Schedule A
Tape recording(s) and transcript(s) resulting from
4 interviews of —‘H?er,.. ?be? ?r?t.,J,..• ….,, M?i?l?l?e?r._ _
(number) (Interviewee)
dates:11· · ··
on the following
Nov. 14, 1995
Nov. 15, 1995
rec. 9, 1996
Dec. 11, 1996
1 tape
l tape
1 tape
1 tape
All interviews are contained on one diskette.
49 pages
48 pages
52 pages
46 pages
?/ Identify, specifically for each interview, the date thereof
and (1) the number of tapes being conveyed, (2) the number of
pages of the transcript of that interview, and (3) the diskette
containing the transcripto
Interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr.
November 14, 1995
Mr. Willens: This interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr. is being conducted as part of
the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit,
Washington, D.C. The date is November 14, 1995. My name is Howard P. Willens. I’ve known
Jack Miller for more than 35 years. We worked closely together dwing the period from early
1960 until December 1966. We have remained professional colleagues and personal friends
since that time. I have given Mr. Miller for his review the Interviewee Oral History Agreement
and the accompanying set of instructions and explanations. He bas agreed to review them and
make his judgment at the appropriate time as to what restrictions, if any, to impose upon use of
this transcript. Jack, after that formal statement for the record, could we begin by you stating
your full name and your date of birth
Mr. Miller: My full name is Herbert John Miller, Jr. — nickname Jack because
of the fact that I was a Jr. I was OOm in Minneapolis, Minnesota January 11, 1924.
Mr. Willens; How did it happen that your parents lived in Minnesota?
Mr. Miller: ff you want to go back fairly close to the beginning, my mother’s
grandparents immigrat ed from Sweden. Her maiden name was Jolmson. They settled in
Columbia Heights, which is a small suburb of Minneapolis. That is where my mother grew up.
My father grew up in Heron Lake, Minnesota His grandparents had immigrated from Germany .
. [.
Part of the family lore is how -grandfather spent the first year in a sod shanty on the plains of
southern Minnesota outside of Heron Lake.
Mr. Willens: So both sides of the family had been in Minnesota for at least two
Mr. Miller: Well, two generations if you include my mother, yes.
Mr. Willens: Did you have brothers and sisters?
Mr. Miller: I am an only child. In fact, I am married to an only child.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any judgments that you want to state for the record as
to being an only child?
Mr. Miller: We have effectively deprived our children of uncles and aunts. But
aside from that, it’s a lot easier being brought up by yourself, I think, than having to do battles
with brothers and sisters, based on my tong observation of family life in other families that I’ve
run across.
Mr. Willens: What did your father do for a living?
Mr. Miller: My father graduated from the University of Minnesota and went to
law school. When the First World War came, he went overseas with the Hospital Unit out of
Rochester. It’s very famous, but I can’t think of the name of it right now. It’s the most famous
medical group in the Midwest. And they sent a unit overseas as a part of the U.S. Armed Forces.
He stayed overseas a year after he got out of the military, went to the Sorbonne in Paris. He
eventually came back, got into a fight with a professor about whether or not a course he had
taken was two or four hours credit, and so he never graduated from law school. That’s probably
why he was quite anxious that I graduate from law school He then became secretary of the Real
Estate Board and then became president of the Civic and Corrnnerce Association of Minneapolis,
known in other jwisdictions as the Chamber of Commerce. He served as president for many
years and then went with Harold Stassen as secretary of a governmental unit designed to bring
industry and jobs to the State of Minnesota
Mr. Willens: When would that have been?
Mr. Miller: That was in the ’40.’41 era, ’42. Owing the War, he came down to
Washington, D.C. to work with, as he would call it, old Senator Byrd of Virginia His job was to
do research and to design legislation to determine the fate of several government agencies. As a
result of his work, and of course the vote in the Senate and the House, several of these agencies,
which had been developed in the Roosevelt era, were voted out of existence. He then became
chairman of the Tax. Foundation, which was a non•profit organization headquartered in New
York, with a main office in Washington, D.C., which tracked government expenditures,
government trucing policies, and generally tried to bring to the fore the various issues of tax
policy and governmental expenditures which they felt should be publicized.
Mr. Willens: When was your father born?
Mr. Miller: My father was born in 1891, or was it 1893, in Heron Lake,
Mr. Willens: He lived, as I remember, for many years.
Mr. Miller: And he went to grade school, high school, and then went with his
older brother, Uncle Arthur, commonly known as “Mis” for misery, to the University of
Minnesota He left the University of Minnesota to go overseas in the Army. I wonder if I have
the date right. I think it was ’91; I’ll have to look that up.
Mr. Willens: -He lived into bis ’90s, as I recall
Mr. Miller: Yes, he was 94 when he died. What I can’t recall now is how many
years ago that was. It must be about 5 or 6 years ago. His older brother, Uncle Arthur, my
number 2 son, and I went back to his funeral in Duluth — died at 103.
Mr. Willens: So you have very good genes.
Mr. Miller: Well, the blue jeans fit on occasion.
Mr. Willens: Did your father speak often about bis interest in becoming a lawyer
at an earlier stage in his life?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Absolutely. I had no concept during high school of what I
wanted to do in life, and I went into the University of Minnesota, went into pre-law because I
didn’t know what else to do. I have an idea that my father was not up set with that decision. He
may have even encouraged it.
Mr. Willens: Did your mother work outside of the house?
Mr. Miller: No.
Mr. Willens: Had she been educated through the college level?
Mr. Miller: My mother went through high school and had 2 years of college,
and then went to work as a secretary, and then married my father.
Mr. Willens: What do you remember about your childhood in terms of your
relationships with your mother and your father?
Mr. Miller: Maybe because as an only child, I recall that they were very close,
very lovable. My father was very hard working, occasionally spent a lot of time on the road,
traveling around the State of Minnesota and elsewhere. My mother was very much in evidence,
running the house and being a-housewife and a mother.
Mr. Willens: As I Widerstand it then, your father at some point in the early 1940s
changed his place of residence from Minnesota to Washington, D.C.?
Mr. Miller: Well, he came to Washington, D.C., I think it must have been
1943, and he commuted back and forth, and then I went in the Army in March or April, I think of
’43. I remember riding the streetcar up to Hopkins, Minnesota, and going to the Draft Board and
saying, “Here I am; I want to go.” I was 1 year and two-thirds into my 2-year pre-law at the
University of Minnesota He had already come to Washington, I think, the prior year. So after I
went in the Army, I went out to Fort Snelling, which is the local Army post, I think it goes back
many, many years, and from there went down to Camp Barclay, Texas. My eyesight was quite
poor, so I was limited service. So I went down to Camp Barclay to go into basic training.
Having finished basic training, I was selected for some reason unknown to me to go to Officers
Candidate School. I went to Officers Candidate School and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in
December of 1943. I had a 10-day delay in route, came back to Washington, saw my parents
who were now living on Porter Street, as a matter of fact, in an apartment.
Mr. Willens: Porter Street where?
Mr. Miller: Porter Street, right up by the Uptown Theater.
Mr. Willens: Off Connecticut in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I had a 10-day delay in route. Of course, in those days, you
got on the train, and you stood from Camp Barclay, Texas, to where you were going. And I
hadn’t seen them for a while, obviously. My girlfriend cmne from Minneapolis to meet with me,
and we bad a few days, and then I got on the train and stood pretty much all the way back to
Camp Barclay.
Mr. Willens: Going back to your pre-college years, were you educated in the
public schools in Minneapolis?
Mr. Miller: Yes. West High School in Mmnesota It was Lake Harriet Grade
Mr. Willens: Did you have any particular interests or activities during those
years before you went to college?
Miller era.
Mr. Miller: Well, I was voted the best dancer of West High School my senior
Mr. Willens: What was your specialty?
Mr. Miller: Dancing, obviously.
Mr. Willens: What kind of dancing?
Mr. Miller: What they used to call the swing dance. A little prior to the Glenn
Mr. Willens: That’s coming on strong these days.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I saw that. I felt that maybe I was back in style again after all
these years. I used to play a lot of hockey as a kid. I don’t know what I did. I had a paper route,
The Minneapolis Tribune. I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning, go toddling off into the
Minnesota winter. The best part of the route was, there were some apartment houses where you
could stay warm, but even better, there was a bakery, a small bakery, and I’d stop in and buy
these fresh hot pies, eat half as I dispensed The Tribune.
Mr. Willens: What prompted you to take that job?
Mr. Miller: • I have no idea It could have been money. It could have been a
feeling I had to do something worthwhile for a change.
Mr. Willens: Did you get to keep the money, or did you have to contribute it to
the household’?
spent it, either.
Mr. Miller: Oh, no, no, no. Whatever I got was mine. I can’t remember how I
Mr. Willens: Have you kept up with many of the people you went to high school
Mr. Miller: My closest friends are the people that I met actually — Bert
McGlynn I met — we had a bicycle crash when we were about 8 years old, and not over 3 days
ago, I called him He had a heart attack. He’s down in F1orida temporarily. We had a long talk
about that problem He’s in great shape. But there’s several of the OOys in that group that we ran
around with in grade school and all through high school and college. Aside from Bruce
Anderson, they were all Irish Catholic, and they went to parochial schools. They went to De
Lasalle High School, while I went to West High School and the University of Minnesota But I
can go back — Carey gets a kick out of this, as do the other wives. I can go back, and that group
will be there, and it will be just as though I bad never left. It’s just one of the great and
remarkable relationships. I was taking a deposition about a year ago in a case down in the west
coast of Florida So I did that, and I rented a car and drove 150 miles south, called up McGlynn,
said, “You’ve got me for dinner.” He was staying on a small island off the coast of Florida above
Mr. Willens: Sanibel or Captiva’?
Mr. Miller: -Captiva Island, yes. As a matter of fact, he and I — his father had a
small bakery — McGlynn’s Bakery.
Mr. Willens: How do you spell McGlynn?
Mr. Miller: M-c-G-1-y-n-n. McGlynn’s Prize Bread. His father had entered
some of the bakery bread in a church contest and had won third prize, so thereafter it was
McGlynn’s Prize Bread. And I can remember Bert and I used to fill in in the summertime when
the drivers — I think Mr. McGlyun had two drivers. They were paid $37.50 a week. And as they
went on vacation, Bert and I would get down to the bakery at 5 :00 in the morning, watch
Mr. McGlyun with the slicing machine slice up the bread and the wrapper and all of the other
pastries that he put together. And then we’d load it in the truck and go toddling off on the route.
And we got 50 percent of $37.50 each for our weekly labors.
Mr. Willens: It sounds as though this belongs in the Lake Wobegon series of
Mr. Miller: And every weekend we would pretty much socialize together.
Mr. Willens: But you say that among your friends, many were Catholics and
went to parochial schools, whereas you were not and did not go to parochial school.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Were these friends then basically from the neighboring houses?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I guess Bert lived originally a block from me, and then we
moved three or four blocks away. But it was essentially a neighborhood group.
Mr. Willens: Did most of the students at your high school go on to university?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t remember. I think the answer probably is yes, a
large percentage of them would probably have gone on to the university. West High School
exists no longer, by the way, I found out to my chagrin.
Mr. Willens: So there will be no reunion.
Mr. Miller: Well, I went to the 50th reunion, and received a notice they’re
thinking of one next year, which I intend to go to. Now when I go to the reunions, I see a few of
my old West High School pals, but the table that we sit at is all of the pals I grew up and played
around with that were i n the parochial school –McGlynn and Carr and McClellan and Anderson
and Rogers.
Mr. Willens: You went to college then at about the time that the United States
entered the war. Is that correct?
Mr. Miller: Let’s see. I graduated from high school in ’41 in the spring, and
then I started college in ’41. So I went in ’41, ’42, and then two semesters in ’43, and then I went
intheArmyinMarchof’43. Yes.
Mr. Willens: What was the draft situation at that point?
Mr. Miller: I was signed up for the draft, I can’t remember whether I could
have gotten a deferment or not, but I remember deciding that — I hadn’t been called yet — I’d
better go. I can still remember the trolley ride out to Hopki ns, Minnesota where the draft board
was, and I walked in and said “I’m ready; what do I do?” And they said, “Well, we’re glad to
have you.” And they were. So off I went.
Mr. Willens: What did your parents think of that decision?
Mr. Miller: I think my father was — they wonied about it. I think he was kind
of glad I did, but, you know, hard to tell.
Mr. Willens: -But what prompted you to make that decision in 1943?
Mr. Miller: The war was going on. I felt that I should participate.
Mr. Willens: Had your friends been drafted by that time?
Mr. Miller: Some of them had gone in. McGlynn was off. McClellan went
off. He became a Navy fighter pilot, as a matter of fact. Toe others •• I can’t remember where
they fit in the spectrum, but they were all either going to go or had shortly gone. I think most of
them left after I did. McClellan went first; I remember that.
Mr. Willens: Were there any reservations in your community of friends to the
United States entering the war?
Mr. Miller: No. No. I remember •· oh, that’s right. I used to play trumpet in
bands around town. But I can still remember December 7. I was up in Columbia Heights with a
group of other musicians, and we were getting ready to play for a high school dance. I remember
that the door burst open and somebody ran in and said that the Japanese had bombed Pearl
Harbor, and I wasn’t sure if I knew where Pearl Harbor was. I had heard of it. So that took care
of that rehearsal. We twned on the radio. No, I recall no opposition to the United States entering
the war whatsoever. In fact, I trunk there was a strong feeling that we should enter the war and
stop all the nonsense.
Mr. Willens: After you went to officer candidate training school and became a
Second Lieutenant and then came back to be with your parents for a short interval, what were
your military assignments from that point forward?
Mr. Miller: Well, I went back to Camp Barclay, and I was involved in
teaching. I taught at the officers candidate school, and I taught part of the basic training courses.
That went on for a couple of months, until about, I think, March 10.
Mr. Willens: What kind of teaching did you do? What subject did you teach?
Mr. Miller:
history of the Army.
Military discipline, first aid practices, the hierarchy of the Army,
Mr. Willens: Were you looking for a more active role in the service, or was this
something that you wanted to do?
Mr. Miller: No, I was just in a replacement depot. I was going to be shipped
out. The only question was when. But anyway, so the 10th of March, as I recall, ’44, I packed up
and got on a train and went off to California and stayed at Bakersfield. I remember I had a
weekend off and I went down to San Francisco for my 2 days. I found an old trumpet which I
paid $12 for, and that traveled with me the rest of my Anny career. Then I went down to
someplace near the Golden Gate and got on a Dutch freighter. We were supposed to go over in a
convoy of Liberty ships, but one or more of the Liberty ships had broken down. The Dutch
freighter was considered fast enough, so they thought it would be safe, they said. So off we went
by ourselves.
Mr. Willens: Who? When you say by yow-selves, you were part of a unit at that
Mr. Miller: A single ship. And there were a bunch of replacement officers on
it. It wa sn’t a big ship. And we pulled into Noumea for a day, didn’t get off the ship.
Mr. Willens: Noumea is where?
Mr. Miller: New Caledonia. And then landed in Milne Bay, New Guinea.
Mr. Willens: Had you known your destination was New Guinea?
Mr. Miller: .You know, I don’t remember. My guess is I probably did.
Mr. Willens: What was the status of the war in the Pacific at the time that you
arrived in New Guinea in or about March of 1944?
Mr. Miller: Well, let’s see. We must have landed there at the end of March.
beginning of April, ’43. What was the status? Well, I’ll tell you what the status was in New
Guinea. They’d had a big battle with tremendous U.S. losses at Lae, New Guinea In fact, there
was a huge cemetery there, and it was named after the U.S. general in charge of the troops,
Eichelberger, they called it Eichelberger Square. Going up the coastline of New Guinea, what
was the city, settlement, was it Hollandia, or is that further up? But anyway, as you flew up in a
DC3, you would fly at a fairly low level Oh, Fincbhaven.
Mr. Willens: How do you spell Finchhaven?
Mr. Miller: Finchhaven. AufDeutsch.
Mr. Willens: F-i-n?
Mr. Miller: Yes. F-i-n-c-h haven, h-a-b-e-n or h-a-v-e-n. But the Japanese had
a large number of troops in Fincbhaven. This was part of the MacArthur strategy, you know,
take one part and then skip and go further on up. Yes, that right. Fincbhaven. And we would
come close to Finchhaven, we would go quite high up because the enemy aircraft guns were
there. And the next stop would be Hollandia, where MacArthur had his headquarters for a time
before he went on to the Philippines. After the replacement depot in Milne Bay, I went to Lae,
where I became an adjutant of a 250-bed station hospital. Subsequently, I went up to Biak,
which was a small island in the center of Geelvink Bay. It was all coral and was in effect one
great big airstrip. You could take a grader out and grade the land. It was all coral. And you’d
have yourself a perfect airstrip. I can remember watching the B24s and the P38s. The B24s
would load up with bombs, and they’d start at the very end of this long runway, and they would
go along, along, along, and they’d take off, and then they would drop out of sight. Tuey went off
a cliff, in other words, and they were so heavily loaded they’d drop off of sight. And then way off
in the distance, you’d see them pull up. They were conducting bombing raids.
Mr. Willens: That was still while you were in New Guinea These locations
you’ve mentioned were all in New Guinea?
Mr. Miller: In New Guinea, and they’re conducting 1:x:imbing raids on the
Philippines from Biak. Well. I forgot about that. Before I went up to Biak, I was over on
Goodenough Island.
Mr. Willens: Goodenough Island.
Mr. Miller: Aside from the scrub typhus and you never knew what was in the
weeds, it had a beautiful sand beach with palm trees. I was assigned to a general hospital there
for a period of time.
Mr. Willens: Why was it that your assignments were at hospitals?
Mr. Miller: Because when I graduated, I was Second Lieutenant — Medical
Administrative. Because of my limited eyesight, they put me in with the medics .
Mr. Willens: While you were engaged in these operations, were the Japanese
trying to interfere?
Mr. Miller: Well, Milne Bay and Lae were cleaned by then. Goodenough
Island, there may have been a few of them in the jungle, but they were no problem Up in Biak, I
can remember ta1cing an ambulance — I was with the Aviation Engineering Battalion at that stage
of the game, not a hospital. A friend of mine was Red Cross, and they had an extra refrigerator
which was worth its weight in gold. I mean, that was the status symbol, the Cadillac of the age.
To make a long story short, I set out late at night in my ambulance, and I got the refrigerator in
the ambulance, and I’m driving home. The Japanese had one or two aircraft, and because the
,,. ‘
sound of the engine, they were nicknamed “Washing Machine Charlies,” and they would come
over and drop a few bombs on Biak and be on their way. And I can remember driving down the
road and the air raid sirens went off. I stopped, and I could hear this plane, and I said, to bell
with it, and just kept right on going. I had too valuable a cargo with the refrigerator.
Mr. Willens: If the pilot had only known.
Mr. Miller: And then from Biak, I went back to Lae. I went from Milne Bay,
Goodenough Island, to Biak, and went back to Lae, where I joined a 250-bed station hospital. I
was put in charge of putting the whole thing in crates and boxes and what have you.
Mr. Willens: Putting what whole thing?
Mr. Miller: The whole hospital unit. Because we were going from there to the
Philippines. I was in charge of the move, and I remember they had a tremendous supply of beer,
U.S. beer, canned.
Mr. Willens: The hospital there.
Mr. Miller: Yes. Well, it was there, some depot someplace. To make a long
story short, I crated up I don’t know how many cases of beer and put it along with hospital
equipment. We landed and got off at Manila and went down about 40 miles south through
Batangas, where we staged in a new Bilibid prison. There’s an old Bilibid prison, and there’s a
new Bilibid prison.
Mr. Willens: -What’s the word you’re using?
Mr. Miller: Bilibid. B-i-l-i-b-i-d. And it was a prison. But we took it over,
and that was our staging area while we waited for our next assignment. I can remember when I
was in charge of the unloading, and these 2-1/2 ton trucks would drive up, and I was out there
with 50 Japanese prisoners by myself with a 45-cahber pistol, and started at 1:00 in the morning,
and I kept thinking, 50 Japanese, and I’ve got how many shots here? This doesn’t seem fair to
me. But anyway, we got it all unloaded, including the beer. I was the most popular man in the
outfit, obviously, because I knew where the beer was.
Mr. Willens: When did that transfer from New Guinea to the Philippines take
Mr. Miller: Let’s see, I woke up on September 6, 1995 —
Mr. Willens: 19 —
Mr. Miller: And realized that 50 years before, on September 6, it would be
September 6, 1945, I stepped off a landing ship tank onto the shores of Yokohama Harbor. J
realized that in 1995 it was 50 years since I landed on the shores of Japan. I began to realize I
might be a little old, because my mother did not carry me off the ship in her anns. That was four
days after MacArthur bad signed the peace treaty on September 2. So if that was September, we
went from Batangas to a port, southern port, ] forget the name, in the Philippines, loaded up, and
there was a flotilla of 54 LSTs. And we hit one of the biggest typhoons that had ever been
encountered when we were going past Okinawa I still remember those damned ships would go
down, you could see 360 degrees of water, nothing else, and they’d come up and they’d be
bobbing. I remember one poor guy had appendicitis, and he had to be transferred from one LST
to another at the height of the stoITil. I thought the guy would be crushed between the two ships,
but fortunately we got him on board, he was operated on and he was fine. There was another
time when a heavy piece of equipment down in the hold broke loose and was rolling around. We
thought it was going to go out through the side of the ship. Some guy grabbed a chain, and we
finally got it fixed. So the quarters were not very plush, to say the least.
Mr. Willens: How long had you served in the Philippines then?
Mr. Miller: Well, I’m just trying to remember. I remember I was in the
Philippines listening to the radio, and I remember hearing about the death of Roosevelt. A more
vivid recollection: I was lying, listening to the short wave radio, and they announced the atomic
bomb had been dropped. And I thought it was propaganda I thought it was absolute nonsense. I
paid no attention to it.
Mr. Willens: Was that a view that was shared?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Whoever heard of a bomb that big? That’s ridiculous. But
we all figured that one way or another, we didn’t go to the Philippines for a joyride, that we were
going to end up one way or another going into Japan or Okinawa
Mr. Willens: Was it your expectation at the time you moved to the Philippines
with your unit that there would need to be an invasion?
Mr. Miller: Ob, yes.
Mr. Willens: Of Japan and that you were going to be part of it?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. No question about it. That was the whole focus.
Mr. Willens: How did the superiors in the unit deal with this? I mean, was there
any discussion of what the strategy was and when this would happen?
Mr. Miller: -No. I can’t remember any discussion about it at all. We went
through a routine over there, getting ready. How do you handle bodies coming in, and all that
kind of stuff?
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection now of the projections of injuries that
were being discussed at the time?
Mr. Miller: I have no recollection of that at all.
Mr. Willens: Were the Philippines secure when you anived there?
Mr. Miller: Yes. On Biak, it was fairly secure, but I participated and ahnost
shot one of my own men, as a matter of fact. I went around the comer, and here was this
Japanese soldier, coming out of the jungle. So I held a gun on him And somebody started
running out of the woods, and I thought that might be another one, and fortunately I did not fire
because it was another soldier. So he came up and we held this guy and called the MP.
Afterwards, the “MP came back and said, “You know, you ought to be more careful” I said,
“Why is that?” He said, “He had a band grenade hanging between his legs. He could have blown
all of you up.” So — the luck of the Irish And then I remember I went out one night and got a
bulldozer. I’d never run one before. Scraped off the coral, so we could move the hospital from
one part of Biak. to another.
Mr. Willens: 1bis is New Guinea now?
Mr. Miller: The Aviation Engineering Battalion. And I found a dump truck.
They had a big quarry where they ran all night long with lights, and anybody with a dump truck
would just get in line and load up with coral, then I’d come back and dump it and then I’d spread
it out and kind of level the area I remember the next day I was out there and we were noticing
some people who were further down, had actually put up some building, and they started sniping
fire from the mountain. So the Japanese were lurking around in there, but they were not
organized, they were not a fighting force.
Mr. Willens: That was in New Guinea, or that was in the Philippines?
Mr. Miller: No, this was on Biak.
Mr. Willens: Biak in —
Mr. Miller: In New Guinea.
Mr. Willens: In New Guinea And in the Philippines, did you have similar
encounters with the Japanese?
Mr. Miller: No. Well, of course, the Philippine people were certainly glad to
see us. But by the time we got there, whatever pockets of Japanese resistance, at least around
where we were, were long gone.
Mr. Willens: When did you come to realize that the war was coming to an end
and that you would go into Japan as part of an occupying force?
Mr. Miller, Well, when they dropped the second bomb, and then I became
something of a believer. And let’s see — the peace treaty was signed September 2 on the
Missouri, and I think the cease fire was sometime in August, was it not, in ’45? And it was about
that time that we started packing up. I can’t remember how long we were on the LST. If we got
there September 6, we probably must have been moving 10, 15 days, so it was sometime after the
cease fire and before the peace treaty was signed.
Mr. Willens: Did you have a fixed tour of duty, or was there some prospect that
you could go home at the conclusion of the war?
Mr. Miller: .Well, when we got to Japan, we staged on a plateau outside of
Yokohama. And I remember another typhoon hit, just blew everything to pieces, and I found an
ambulance rocking in the breeze at 2:00 in the morning, and I climbed in that. I had a wonderful
sleep. But it was a total mess the next morning. And Japan itself — you talk about devastation. I
got a jeep and drove from Yokohama to Tokyo, which as I recall was about 40 miles. As you
drove along, as far as you could see on either side you’d see nothin g but rubble and an occ asional
chimney. Just total devastation. There was one large building that survived, how or why I have
no idea. I remember driving past, and there was this long line of Gls waiting to get in, and I
couldn’t figure out what it was. It turns out it was a house of ill fame. The luck of the draw, I
guess. But you got over to Tokyo, and MacArthur’s headquarters was in the Daichi Building, but
you had the Emperor’s Palace and grounds, which was a fairly substantial piece of real estate.
And, of course, right around there, there was no bomb damage because the orders had been given
not to bomb the Emperor’s Palace. Apparently they wanted to make sure that the Emperor
survived to be helpful, I assumed, during the occupation. A famous hotel, what was the name of
it, was fairly close to the Emperor’s Palace. Who was the famous architect?
Mr. Willens: Japanese architect?
Mr. Miller: No, no, back in the United States. If I could think of his name .
The architect — he designed several famous houses in Minnesota, I know, and through the
Mr. Willens: Frank Lloyd Wright.
Mr. Miller: Yes. Frank Lloyd Wright. But he had designed the Imperial Hotel,
which was as I recall not far from one of the borders of the Emperor’s Palace, and I remember
having lunch there later on.
Mr. Willens: What were your duties in Japan as part of the occupying force?
Mr. Miller: Once we got rolling, we went up to hamagawa, which was the
former Air Force Training Academy. There were actually wooden buildings there, and we set up
a 250-bed station hospital there. I was at that stage the adjutant of the hospital and in charge of
running the hospital — all the various duties, making sure that the patients were brought in, were
treated, and handled all the paperwork, head of staff.
Mr. Willens: You treated all the U.S. military personnel?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Handling all the military personnel that had problems. Then
because we were adjacent to a major airfield, we were transferred from the Army to the 5th Air
Force, and officially assigned and in fact became a part of the 5th Air Force. The 5th Air Force
was flying out of that airstrip.
Mr. Willens: Were you a First Lieutenant or Captain at that point?
Mr. Miller: Let’s see, I was a First Lieutenant by then.
Mr. Willens: Did you have dealings with the Japanese people in the course of
your duties in Japan?
Mr. Miller: A fair amount, as a matter of fact.
Mr. Willens: How did that come about?
Mr. Miller: Some of it was social. Sometimes in my duties as an adjutant, I’d
come into contact with Japanese businessmen. We’d buy supplies of various types if we couldn’t
get them through the Army.
Mr. Willens: What are your recollections now of those encounters?
Mr. Miller: .Hm?
Mr. Willens; What are yow recollections of the Japanese that you met at that
period of yow life in terms of the War and their reactions to the peace treaty?
Mr. Miller: The Japanese people, it was very strange, because I had, and I
suppose because of propaganda, Pearl Harbor and the like —
Mr. Willens: I was asking aOOut yow dealings with the Japanese and yow
recollections today of them and their attitudes toward the peace treaty.
Mr. Miller: I had developed a real hatred for the Japanese, and yet when I
arrived in Japan and after I had dealt with them and gotten to know individual Japanese, I became
very impressed. They have a tremendous work ethic. They were very, very hard workers. The
ones I dealt with were absolutely trustworthy, contrary to what I’d been taught in the Anny. I left
with a very high opinion of the Japanese people. I was over there — let’s see, I got there in
September, and I think I left for the States the following August, so I’d spent a fair amount of
time and I’d met quite a few of them, and I was very, very impressed.
Mr. Willens: Did you enjoy the kind of organizational and management work
that you did while you were in the service?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know whether I did or not. The job was to be done, and I
just can’t remember whether I did or not.
Mr. Willens: Well, let me put it another way. Did you come away from the
military service thinking that you had some management skills that might help you develop a
career in civilian life?
Mr. Miller: I’ll tell you what I did come out of the military with. I came out of
the military with a confidence_(perhaps misplaced) that I was equipped to handle most anything
that I decided to go into. Because even though it was the military, there was a substantial amount
of discretion, particularly when I was the adjutant of this hospital, and in terms of nmning things
and making it go and being responsible to the commanding officer for seeing that there was
enough supplies and enough food, and we had sufficient personnel and the right personnel, the
right equipment and that the buildings were secure and all of that. I did develop one additional
thing I must tell you about. Christmas was approaching in 1945, and back in Minnesota my
mother and father always used to have ”Tom and Jerrys” at Christmas time. Sort of a milk
punch. So when I had left Lae, in addition to the beer which now was all gone, I had also had a
crate or two of dried ice cream mix, which you were supposed to use in an ice cream machine.
Of course, we had a whole Liberty ship of dried ice cream mix but no ice cream machine. So I
brought some of those tins along, and they ended up in Japan. And while there, Christmas was
approaching, and the spirit was upon me, and it looked like we might have some snow like
Minnesota days, so I got some of the ice cream mix out, and I got some grain alcohol, pure
alcohol from the hospital supplies, I’m sure illegally, and mixed it up with water and the ice
cream mix, and I developed what was known as Miller’s Mongoose Mille. We had a Christmas
party at the hospital with Miller’s Mongoose Milk, and all I can remember at the conclusion of
the party, I went to walk out the door of the quonset hut and I missed it by three feet. It was a
magnificent party. I don’t know what other reputation I gained, but I was well known because of
Miller’s Mongoose Milk.
Mr. Willens: Th.ere were no fatalities or serious injuries?
Mr. Miller: No fatalities. Many good times, however.
Mr. Willens: How did it happen that you were discharged? Did it just come to
the point where you had completed your tour?
Mr. Miller: No. They had a point system I forget how it worked. It
considered the years, months overseas, and married, age, the whole bit. But my time to go back
came in August 1945, and I ended up on a large troop ship —
Mr. Willens, August 1946?
Mr. Miller: August 1946, yes. And I was assigned the rather crummy duty of
sanitation officer of the ship going home. And I met an Air Force pilot that was being, shall we
say, repatriated, and we were chatting, and over the loudspeakers came a voice that said, “Radar
officers needed on the bridge.” So I tu.med to this new-found pal, and I said, “You’re a fly boy.
Ever seen a radar unit?” And he said, “Yes, I’ve seen one.” And I said, “Well, let’s go apply.” So
we went up to the bridge, talked to the captain, and he said, “Well. the radar set is right over
there.” And I said, “Is there a book?” And he said, “Oh, yes.” So between the two ofus, we
figured out what it was, so he and I became the radar officers for the trip home, which was a lot
better. The only problem is when we spotted some blips on the radar, and my pal wasn’t there, I
didn’t know what the hell they were. They turned out to be friendly ships, I might add, the war
having been over for some time. But I can still remember watching that radar screen as we were
coming into Seattle, so we must have come into Puget Sound. And it was outlying, and the
captain said, “Well, now where are we with respect to land?” and I said, “Buddy, you’d better
start looking out the window.” So then we landed in Seattle, and I got on a troop train and rode
from Seattle to Washington, D.C., actually to the Anny base outside on the road to Baltimore,
where I was discharged. And I got a cab, and I went to where my mother and father were living.
They had lost track of me in the course of my long travels. So about 5 o’clock I walked in and
said, “What’s for dinner?”
Mr. Willens: They were surprised?
Mr. Miller: They were. It was a nice reunion. They were very happy to see
me, obviously, and I them But on the troop train coming across the plains I bought a magazine
which said that the schools were really jammed up, loaded with returning veterans. And they
gave a list of some of the schools that still had vacancies, and one that I’d never heard of was
George Washington University. So I tore the page out, and the next day I looked in the phone
book, and my dad drove me down and I applied to George Washington University.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any reservations about not going back to Minnesota?
Mr. Miller: Oh. I was going back to Minneapolis. I thought I would stay with
my folks, go a semester or two, and then I was going to go back to the University of Minnesota
and finish up and go to law school. Again, because I didn’t know what else to do. Trying to
avoid honest work, probably. So I started at George Washington and, as many people coming to
Washington do, I eventually graduated. I had a combined course. I finished. I got an
undergraduate degree in 1948, I guess, and a law degree in 1949. Everybody wanted to know
how I was so smart I could go through law school in one year. And I said, “Very simple; all you
need to do is go full time and have the university treat your freshman year in law school as your
senior year in college.”
Mr. Willens: And that program was available then for returning veterans?
Mr. Miller: Yes. And that’s how I have the BA in one year and the LLB in the
Mr. Willens: Having recalled some of your military experiences today for
perhaps the first time in a long time, what influence do you think your military service had on
your subsequent career or your general attitudes toward life?
Mr. Miller: I think it gave me an opportunity to prove to myself that I could
fulfill jobs assigned to me, a varying number of jobs, I might add. And it gave me a sense of
confidence that I had sufficient experience and had dealt with people above me, below me, that I
–1 wouldn’t say that I was all confident — but I thought that I could handle any situation that
came up.
Mr. Willens: Having seen the devastation in Japan, did you come away with any
views about the war and the use of military weapons such as the use of the atomic bomb under
those circumstances?
Mr. Miller: Well, I have watched with some dismay this controversy that has
developed trying to second guess the use of the atomic bomb and the efforts by the Smithsonian
to put out what I considered almost an anti-U.S. propaganda piece, which fortunately didn’t work.
But I can tell you as one who was over in the arena, and knew that Japan was my destination, at
least by the time I got to the Philippines if not before, that I have no contrary feeling at all that the
absolutely correct decision was to drop the bomb. I know that it killed all kinds of children,
women, and non-combatants, but looking at it from a personal standpoint, they did start the war,
and my buddies would be subject to being killed in huge numbers if we were forced to invade
Japan. And dropping those bombs, whatever people will ever say, did away with the necessity
for an armed invasion, which would have cost, I mean there would have just been tremendous
losses of U.S. troops. Because when you got to Japan, everywhere you looked around, you could
see pillboxes, and the people were just fanatic soldiers, that’s all there is to it. We had already
lost enough U.S. soldiers, and it would have just been a devastating experience. So I have no
hesitancy whatsoever in saying that dropping the bomb was the correct thing, and if I had to do it
myself, I’d pull the trigger in the same situation. That may run counter to The Washington Post
and some of the other publications that questioned this, but not in my book.
Mr. Willens: While you were in law school at George Washington during the
1946-1949 period, did you anticipate that you would be practicing law in Washington?
Mr. Miller: I always felt I’d go back to Minneapolis. I liked Minneapolis. My
closest friends were in Minneapolis. In fact, after I’d been practicing 2 or 3 years, I went back to
Minnesota and talked to several of my friends who were practicing law to see about the
possibility of relocating to Minnesota, but decided after the conferences that my practice was
more interesting than theirs and I’d better stay where I was.
Mr. Willens: Did you enjoy law school?
Mr. Miller: I guess I probably did. I certainly have no — the only thing that
surprised me about law school was one afternoon we were on the top floor of a class and the roof
collapsed. I remember this poor guy who’d been an infantryman over in Germany, and he just
went all to pieces, he just was a quaking hulk, as though the war had started all over again. He
just lost it totally. But some people were hit by falling plaster, but aside from that, no problem
Mr. Willens: Were there any courses you particularly enjoyed or disliked?
Mr. Miller: You know, it’s been so long I can’t honestly say. I did enjoy
constitutional law. I very much enjoyed that.
Mr. Willens: As I understand it, your academic standing was excellent.
Mr. Miller: . Well, I don’t know if it was excellent. I was Order of the Coif. I
remember that. But where I stood in the class, I can’t remember.

Mr. Willens: How about the law review experience? Did you enjoy the writing?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I was on the law review, and I remember writing an article
that had something to do with taxation. Oh, that’s right, I was thinking that I wanted to become a
tax lawyer. And I picked out some arcane tax issue and wrote an article about it and was quite
proud of it until I read it 2 years later and wondered what I was doing. But the luckiest thing that
ever happened to me is that I did not become a tax lawyer, because I have on occasion of
necessity had to parse through some of the parts of the Internal Revenue Code, and I wouldn’t
wish that on anyone. I think tax lawyers earn their money more than any lawyer.
Mr. Willens: By this point in your career, bad you formed any political
allegiances to one political party or another?
Mr. Miller: I always considered myself a Republican. My father was very,
very interested in government and always felt that the Republican Party was the party that had the
proper interests of the government at heart as distinguished from some of the others. And I used
to listen to my Uncle Arthur, who I remember created quite a stir when his bank (he was vice
president, trust officer of a bank in Duluth), and they moved to a new building and the order
came out, you may not put any pictures on the wall And he promptly went out and got a
hammer and nail and he hammered up his autographed picture of Herbert Hoover. And a great
controversy ensued, but the picture stayed up.
Mr. Willens: I gather then that Uncle Arthur was a Republican also.
Mr. Miller: Uncle Arthur was a very strong Republican.
Mr. Willens: -Did you have any cont emporaries or family members who were of
another political persuasion?
Mr. Miller: I’m trying to think. No.
Mr. Willens: 1bis may be a case where silence —
Mr. Miller: No, and I probably wouldn’t admit it if I could remember.
Mr. Willens: When did you begin interviewing for a position with a law firm in
Mr. Miller: Well, I had finished. I had all the credits I needed to graduate by
the end of the spring term, but I had to go through the sunnner session to fulfill the residency
requirement. I also took the bar that spring or summer, I forget when it was, and passed, so the
latter part of the summer session I was obviously interested in finding employment. One of the
main reasons was that I had become married to my Texas girlfriend, who supported me working
for Colonel Teague, a member of the House of Representatives from Texas.
Mr. Willens: How did you happen to meet Carey?
Mr. Miller: My mother and father had rented Joseph Patrick O’Hara’s house,
37th Street in Washington, D.C. He was the Congressman from the southern part of Minnesota.
Mr. Willens: You said they had rented his house .
Mr. Miller: Yes. They rented it one summer, and it just so happens my mother
and father (I wasn’t around) got to know Dr. & Mrs. Young, whose daughter was Carey
Kinsolving, who I later married. So when I arrived back, knowing everyone was anxious to meet
this strange soldier who had been wandering the highways and the byways, and I met Carey for
the first time, and we bated one another. I was interested in a nurse that I had met over in Japan
and had planned to marry her .. She lived up in Long Island. But that didn’t work out, so the next
thing I knew, Carey and I got engaged, and we got married. And I have a picture of the night I
graduated from law school, sitting in a chair holding a bottle to the mouth of my firstborn, John
Kinsolving Miller. I didn’t make my own graduation.
Mr. Willens: While you were in law school?
Mr. Miller: Yes. That was my graduation night.
Mr. Willens: So you were married then within your first year of returning to
Washington, D.C.?
Mr. Miller: Yes. We were married in — don’t tell Carey I can’t remember– we
were married in 1948. Yes. I graduated in 1949. Yes. Married in, no, we were married in 1947.
Mr. Willens: We’ll go off the record, and you can reflect on this.
Mr. Miller: No. We were married in ’48, that’s right.
Mr. Willens: And Jolm was born in 1949.
Mr. Miller: John was born in ’49.
Mr. Willens: What were the procedures then for interviewing with law finns?
Was there any kind of organized program at the law school, or was it left up to you to establish
contact with possible employers?
Mr. Miller: Tue law school bad a placement office, and I can’t recall
specifically, but I’m sure I went there to see what was available. Somebody had expressed a need
for a lawyer from the Kirkland, Flemming, Green, Martin & Ellis, their Washington office. I had
met a guy who was a little bit ahead of me in law school named Charlie Cutler. So I found out he
was with the finn, so I called him up, said, “Mr. Cutler?” And he said, “Who are you kidding,
Miller?” To make a long story short, he was working there. So I went down, and it was a
Washington office of a big Chicago firm, and they did primarily communications work because
the guy running the office was Louie Caldwell, who was the first General Counsel of the old
Federal Radio Connnission, which was the predecessor of the Federal Communications
Connnission. So I went down and interviewed with some of the people there, and they offered
me a job. We were over in the Press Building. And I think my starting stipend was $250 a
Mr. Willens: You accepted that offer without interviewing at other law firms?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I can’t recall interviewing anyplace else.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any particular lllterest 1D. the communications field?
Mr. Miller: I just wanted a job.
Mr. Willens: How many years ahead of you was Mr. Cutler?
Mr. Miller: I don’t think he was more than 6 months or so. Maybe a year. I
think we were about the same age, but I think he’d gotten into law school before I had.
Mr. Willens: About how large was the firm.at the time you joined it?
Mr. Miller: The firm I don’t think had more than maybe eight lawyers, seven
lawyers. Kelly Griffith did communications work, but common carrier type, and later Hammond
Chaffetz came down —
Mr. Willens: Came to the Washington office from Chicago?
Mr. Miller: Came to the Washington office from Chicago and would spend a
fair amount of time there. But Jack Flo berg was there for some time after he’d served as an
Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was out of the Kirk.land firm in Chicago. I think he also
served on the Atomic Energy Connnission. But when I started, one of the reasons they needed
some help, as I recall, was that Eleanor Patterson had owned the old Times Herald. It wasn’t a
corporation at all, she just owned the newspaper outright. And Charlie was working on that. So
I went to work on various issues, because we were representing the estate which was running the
newspaper. She had left the newspaper to the so-called seven dwarfs, Frank Waldrup, oh, God,
I’ve forgotten the names, but seven of the executives of the newspaper. When she died, she left
the newspaper to them. And they were running the newspaper, and I forget who the executor
was. But in the process, we started to do a lot of work on the estate and a lot of work on the
newspaper. I got involved in libel work and other newspaper issues. My participation on the
corrnnunications side of the firm was fairly limited. I remember getting into argwnents with
Russ Eagan on how an FCC case should be handled in the Coun of Appeals and things of that
nature. But generally I did non-FCC work.
Mr. Willens: What is your recollection now about the State of Washington law
practice at the time you came out of law school and joined Kirkland & Ellis?
Mr. Miller: When I started to practice, obviously the legal community was
substantially smaller. The big law finns were small by today’s standard.
Mr. Willens: Which were the so-called big law firms?
Mr. Miller: Covington Burling certainly was one of the bigger firms, and, gosh,
I can’t remember. I’ll have to go back and look at Martindale & Hubbell from those days. There
were a lot of smaller law firms, around two, three, four people, sometimes solo practitioners.
The District Court was much smaller, and I don’t want to say more accessible, but the practice
seemed to be much less formal than now. It was a more sociable arrangement. I mean now there
are thousands of lawyers that have never met one another. But, for example, if you got into
litigation, pretty soon you would know pretty much who the litigators were because you’d see
them down in the courthouse, run across them in depositions or cases. You didn’t have the
nwnber of administrative agencies that you have now. You had of course the ICC, the FCC and
the SEC, but all of the specialties in practice, such as the EPA and what have you that now exist,
did not exist in those days. The need for lawyers was substantially less.
Mr. Willens: You’re saying the need for lawyers familiar with the federal
government was less than it came to be, or that the need for lawyers generally —
Mr. Miller: Well, sure, a lot of the practice, it wasn’t true of myself, but a lot of
the practice in those days was representing the local bank, and those firms were the ones that
were looked upon as having the prize clients and representing the local businesses. I mean the
federal government representation as such was not what it is today by any manner of means.
Mr. Willens: Was there a line of demarkation between the so-called local firms
on the one band and firms specializing in practice before the federal agencies on the other hand?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. That probably had developed to a certain extent. I
mean, the firm I was in, practically all of the lawyers in it were communications lawyers, and
there were other communications firms around town, and that was their legal arena, if you will,
their area of sociability. The FCC bar would have an annual picnic, for example, and that was
where all the FCC lawyers would practice. And I assume that may have been true of other
agencies, but not that I saw, because I didn’t participate in it.
Mr. Willens: What was your sense about being part of a Washington-based
office of a Chicago law firm?
Mr. Miller: As I got more into the practice, I didn’t like it, because I thought I
would like to have more of a say and participation in how the firm was run and the like, although
the firm I thought was run very well.
Mr. Willens: Was it your sense that most of the critical management decisions
were being made in Chicago?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Absentee control was not to my liking.
Mr. Willens: Did that change to any respect when Hammond Chaffetz came to
Mr. Miller: A little bit, but while he had an office in Washington, still a great
deal of his time was spent in Chicago. He represented Standard Oil, and every so often he would
appear, but he was not a full-time resident of Washington. But the practice of the firm began to
change with representation of The Times Herald.
Mr. Willens: How did that client come to the firm, if you recall?
Mr. Miller: I think Sissy Patterson had some kind of relationship, I can’t
remember what it was, with Colonel McCormick, who had started the Kirkland firm, by the way,
and also of course, owned The Chicago Tribune. And I think that’s how that whole
representation came to pass. And I know representing The Times Herald was a very exciting
proposition. We did a lot of libel work. We’d get calls late at night, have a story read to you for
libel coverage, and the like. It was a fun client.
Mr. Willens: You have made available to me a list of cases in which you
participated during your first several years of practice, and the list includes many cases involving
The Times Herald. Did you have an interest in becoming a litigator at that stage of your career?
Mr. Miller: -I can’t say that I did, but I must have, because I did it and enjoyed
it. I enjoyed libel work very much, including going to court on it.
Mr. Willens: Did many of the hbel cases actually go to trial?
Mr. Miller: No, if they had a good case, it would be settled. I’m trying to
remember if any actually did go to trial. Oh, I remember one — the Feld Brothers. Kelly Griffith
tried that one, and that went to trial, and there was a finding for The Times Herald. I remember I
participated in a firing dispute. Tina Maranzano sued The Times Herald on the grounds that she
was fired in violation of her union contract, and I remember participating in that trial.
Mr. Willens: What did you enjoy about the trial work?
Mr. Miller: What did I enjoy about the trial work? I guess the opportunity to
explain the rectitude of your client’s cause.
Mr. Willens: Anyone in particular?
Mr. Miller: But I also enjoy research and making sure from the law standpoint
that I know as much as there is to know as to the procedures and to the substantive law. I find
that very important. I find that important to this day.
regular basis?
Mr. Willens: When did you develop the habit of reading the advance sheets on a
Mr. Miller: Gosh, I can’t remember, but it had to have been early on. Still do.
Mr. Willens: Do you encourage your partners to do likewise?
Mr. Miller: I don’t have to. They don’t want me to call up and say, “Say, I just
read a Court of Appeals case that fits right into your situation.” They want to make sure they can
say they read it first.
Mr. Willens: .Some of the other clients that are referred to in the list of cases are
the American Oil Company and International Harvester. Do you have any recollection of any of
those individual clients or matters involving them?
a finders fee.
Mr. Miller: Let’s see. International Harvester. Oh, that was a suit I think about
Mr. Willens: It is. Let me give you the copy of this list of significant cases.
Mr. Miller: Oh, I’ll tell you. One of the best cases that I ever had was the
Hush-A-Phone case. This involved a device which in effect would cup over the telephone
instrument so you could have a private discussion. I think there was an 8-year battle before the
FCC where Hush-A-Phone, which was owned by an individual who at the time I got to know
him was probably pretty close to 90. A one-man operation. He had a secretary, I think. Arrayed
against him was AT&T and all of the Bell systems, who said that the Hush-A-Phone couldn’t be
used because it violated the foreign attachment tariffs of the telephone companies which bad
been filed with the FCC. So Kelly Griffith handled the case over at the Commission, and as I say
I think it took 8 years, and the Commission ruled that foreign attachment provisions were valid
and the companies could refuse to permit this device to be used on their telephones. So we
appealed, and Kelly asked me to write the brief, and I came up with an antitrust issue in effect
along the concept of a tie?in sale. By using the telephone instrument, you can’t bar an
independent device produced by somebody else. Then the Commission also found there was
some degradation in service by the utilization of this Hush-A-Phone. To make a long story short,
I went up and argued the case in the Court of Appeals, and against me was the United States of
America, the FCC, the U.S. Independent Telephone Association, and Hugh Cox from Covington
& Burling was there. All [ can tell you is that when [ got up to argue, the three judges descended
upon me like [ was dead meat. By the time [ was finished, [ must have been bleeding visibly. I
remember walking away thinking, well, if there was ever a loser of a case, this is it. I walked out,
and my pal, my client was in the audience and visibly disappointed, as was I, and I said, “Well, I
tried, but I think we can write this one off.” But 3 months later, I got a call from the clerk’s
office. The decision was down. I said, “Which way did it go’! And he said, “Reversed.” I said,
“Come on. Quit kidding me.” He said, “No, it’s reversed.” And I said, “You mean Hush-APhone
won?” He said, “Yes.” So I roared. I got into a cab, went down and got the opinion, and
it was just a total victory. On the basis of that, I drafted a complaint. There’s a cause of action
created under the Federal Communications Act for damages of common carriers to act illegally,
and I had a complaint against AT&T and all the Bell system Then there was a suggestion,
maybe we better let them know before we file it. We had the case on a contingent fee basis. To
make a long story short, finally there was a settlement, and I remember Burke Marshall carrying
over the check, which I graciously or ungraciously accepted, and to this day he calls me “Miller
the Blackmailer.” But I can still remember the General Counsel of AT&T and three of his
sidekicks came in to negotiate with me about what the foreign attachment provision could say. It
was quite an experience for a young guy. I enjoyed it very much.
Mr. Willens: You were still an associate at the time you argued that case, were
you not?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes.
Mr. Willens: When did you become a partner?
Mr. Miller: I don’t remember now.
Mr. Willens: .I think about 1958 or thereabouts, and this case is referred to as
being a 1957 case. It’s unclear whether it was resolved that year or not.
Mr. Miller: Just by way of history, subsequent to the Hush-A-Phone case, the
Court of Appeals decided the Carterfone case, and it is on the basis of the Carterfone case and the
Hush-A-Phone case that all of your computer interconnections with the Bell system line, all of
that is an outgrowth of those two cases.
Mr. Willens: Is that right?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember who the judges were on the Court of Appeals?
Let me give you a list of the members of that court going back several decades and see if that
refreshes your recollection.
Mr. Miller: Well, I think Judge George Washington was on the panel Would
it be easier just to look in the book?
Mr. Willens: It might be. While you have that list in front of you, did you
appear on fairly regular intervals before the Court of Appeals? Taking the period of your life
before the Board of Monitors, in your initial years from 1949 to —
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. I’d have to look that up .
Mr. Willens: I’m just wondering whether you–
Mr. Miller: Ob, the next case was — oh, I think that’s the one that Charlie
Cutler was appointed and be got busy on something else and I worked out a theory. He argued it,
but the case was reversed, Jafjke v. Dunham.
Mr. Willens: Which case were you just talking about?
Mr. Miller: I was talking about Glenn v. Reed. I can’t remember offhand what
that case is. No, that’s not the case I’m tbinkine of. I don’t even remember that case, frankly.
Maranzano I don’t know, I’d have to look. I think I argued that one.
Mr. Willens: Many of the cases listed in these materials do pertain to
proceedings in the trial court. I was wondering whether based on your experience over the years
in Washington you had some views about individual members of the Court of Appeals before
whom you practiced or with whom you had professional relationships that you could contribute
to the historical record.
Mr. Miller: Well, I know some of the ones certainly that were held in high
esteem Judge Stephens, Judge Edgerton and Judge Prettyman.
Mr. Willens: Did you know those individuals on a personal basis?
Mr. Miller: I knew them I didn’t know them well, but I certainly knew them
Whether I appeared before them or not, I don’t know. But I know that for Judge Prettyman and
Judge Edgerton, I always looked upon any opinion they wrote as being very good.
Mr. Willens: What attributes did they bring to the bench that you recall valuing?
Mr. Miller: They could analyze the facts and the law and put it out in an
opinion that made you believe that the way they’d gotten there was the correct result. That’s a
longhand way of saying it. But I mean, you were impressed with the fact that they were good
Mr. Willens: And would they operate in a way that suggested to you that they
were proceeding without any particular political or other bias in addressing cases?
rvu. Miller: I can’t remember having any concept that either of those two were
politically motivated. I am sure I argued a case before Bennett Champ Clark, but I don’t have an
impression of him
Mr. Willens: .How about some of the other names?
Mr. Miller: Proctor I do not. David Bazelon I have a strong impression of.
. Interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr.
November 15, 1995
Mr. Willens: This is Howard Willens speaking. This is the second interview of
Herbert J. Miller, Jr. as part of the Oral History Pro ject of the District of Columbia Circuit
Historical Pro ject. The date is November 15 , 1995. Jack, when we adjourned our discussion
yesterday, we were discussing your recollections of your early years in practice with the firm that
subsequently became known as the Kirkland & Ellis finn As I recall, you stated that the office
was relatively small, with about eight lawyers at that time. Is that correct?
Mr. Miller:
eight lawyers, maybe ten.
Yes. When I joined it, I think that’s about how many there were —
Mr. Willens: Did the firm grow as you stayed with it until you became a partner
in 1958?
Mr. Miller: It expanded to a certain extent, but not much. As I recall. when I
left I tbink there were probably 15 law yers there. The Chic ago office I think had grown
substantially since then I believe it’s over 200 now.
Mr. Willens: When you came out of law school, did you conside r applying for a
judicial clerkship of some kind?
Mr. Miller: Frankly, I did not. I’ll tell you what I did do that I had forgotten
yesterda y. Through a friend of my father’s, I ended up talk..ing to Sal Andretta, who was the
Assistant Attorney General for Administration at the Department of Justice, asking him about the
p ossibility of my getting a job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. I remember the thrust of his advice
was: what Democratic senator do you know? But in any event , I did not follow that course.
Mr. Willens: Did you consider going .into government during the 1950s when
Eisenhower was President?
Mr. Miller: I don’t recall.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any .interest .in going into public service before you
were approached .in 1961 by Attorney General Kennedy?
Mr. Miller: I think I always had an .interest .in government. I’m not sure that
ever equated to the thought that I would be working for the government in some program or
other. My father spent his entire life studying the government — first at the city, county and state
level — and then subsequently at the federal level So from him, I always had a very active
interest in government. But once I got started in the private practice, I don’t think I ever really
thought about going to work for the government. I enjoyed what I was doing. I do know that
early on, one of my ambitions in life was to become a judge after I had practiced for a while.
And, as we will get to subsequently, when I had an opportunity to do that, I opted for private
practice rather than a judgeship.
Mr. Willens: What was it about being a judge that appealed to you as a young
Mr. Miller: The fact that you were in a cowtroom I considered it a very
prestigious offi.de. You had an opportunity to work with the law constantly and, of course, with
the testimony of witnesses. When I got into court, I was very .impressed by some of the judges
before whom I appeared. It just seemed to me that becoming a judge would be the culmination
of any legal practice.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember any of the judges before whom you appeared in
the District Court that left you with favorable impressions of the bench?
Mr. Miller: Judge Pine I remember specifically. He sometimes was, shall we
say, abrupt, but he was a fine lawyer, and I thought a fine judge. He ran a very good courtroom
Mr. Willens: What do you mean by mnning a good courtroom?
Mr. Miller: He didn’t permit lawyers to go off on tangents. He made them
stick to the points at issue in the case before him He quickly dismissed irrelevant legal
arguments that were made. Because of his earlier practice and the time he’d spent on the bench,
he was able to determine very quickly what he considered was the relevant argument. Also he
impressed me with his ability to rule on evidentiary issues very quiclcly.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any specific anecdote that you recall with respect to
appearing before Judge Pine?
Mr. Miller: I can remember one time being told 20 minutes before a pre-trial
hearing that I was to substitute for one of the Kirlcland lawyers and went down totally
unprepared. I almost did not survive the process because ofmy unpreparedness. I have a vivid
recollection of that. It was not my favorite court appearance.
Mr. Willens: Did Judge Pine quiclcly become aware that you were unprepared?
Mr. Miller: Well, of course. As soon as he started asking questions, as I had
watched him do with other lawyers, he immediately became aware that I didn’t know what I was
doing. I had no knowledge of the case. Some lawyer was supposed to cover it, and he had been
called out of town the night before. So I was thrust into the brink so there would not be a default,
but it was ahnost as bad.
Mr. Willens: Did you subsequently appear before him in that particular case?
M,. Miller: Gosh, I don’t remember. I know I’ve appeared before him, but I
can’t remember. I got to know him quite well because he was later on the D.C. Crime
Mr. Willens: Did you have any personal dealings with Judge Youngdahl, who
also had a background from Minnesota?
Mr. Miller: As a matter of fact, I remember Judge Youngdahl from my
Minnesota days. He was the governor who shut down the slot machines in northern Minnesota.
Mr. Willens: Was that a decision you favored or opposed?
Mr. Miller: Probably at the time I was opposed to it. And I knew bis daughter,
Mary Youngdahl. She used to live not far from me in Minneapolis, as a matter of fact.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection of practicing before him.here?
Mr. Miller: I have appeared before him, and I’m embarrassed to tell you I can’t
remember what case it was — probably some motion or the like. He was very friendly for a
judge. I must say I don’t think I ever had an opportunity to judge his legal capabilities as such.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any appearances that you recall before Judge
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes, I have appeared before Judge Holtzoff on more than one
occasion. There was a man that knew the law and was very quick at the law. I was always
amazed that, after hearing strenuous argument from both sides interjected by pertinent questions
from the bench, he would then ask his clerk to bring him in several volumes of Fed. Second,
Supreme Court reports or the Federal Supplement and sit there and dictate from the bench,
reading from the cases with the quotes as necessary, an almost letter-perfect opinion. When I say
almost, many times it was letter-perfect. It was just an incredible display. On the other hand, I
can remember almost losing my arm because I made the mistake, when he asked to see an
exhibit, of leaning over and attempting to hand it to him.directly. I’ve heard of other lawyers
having the same problem. And he became, shall we say, somewhat unsettled and said, “To the
clerk, to the clerk. No, no, no.” And of course, the animosity that existed (and I don’t know
where it crune from) between Justice Frankfurter and the judge was quite well known. I can’t
remember the process, but it was in some case in the Court of Appeals or was I arguing on a
Supreme Court case? But I remember we had a case in the Court of Appeals, and we relied on a
Holtzoff opinion, and I remember the case got up to the Supreme Court, and I can’t remember the
court, and you could just see Frankfurter saying — or I asswne what would happen, and it did,
one or the other. I can’t remember the background of that. But there was a real animosity
between those two.
Mr. Willens: That’s interesting. Was that widely known throughout the legal
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. lfl knew it, I assumed it must be. I’m trying to
remember what the litigation was, because I can remember tbinkine, when the Court of Appeals
relied on something Holtzoff did and it went up to the Supreme Court, my Lord, I know we’re
going to lose Frankfurter. It probably was an FCC case, but I’ll tell you, with the way my mind
works, I’ll remember tomorrow.
Mr. Willens: Did your practice take you from time to time into the local District
of Columbia court as well as the federal court?
Mr. Miller: You know, I’m sure it did, but I’m just trying to think of who the
judges were. Judge Ryan, of course, was domestic relations.
Mr. Willens: Let me ask this question. Was there a fairly sharp cleavage
between the lawyers in the community who practiced before the local court and those who
practiced in the federal coun?
Mr. Miller: .Oh, yes. Fairly. I think one of the most amazing changes that has
occurred is in the criminal law and the practice of criminal law. In my day, early on, the criminal
law in the District of Columbia was pretty much practiced by the so-called Fifth Street Bar. I
can’t remember his name, but one was known around town as the “Green Hornet.” I’ll think of
his name in a minute. I remember the sadness that prevailed when he was convicted of
obstructing justice for destroying evidence or suborning perjury, I forget what it was, in the
District Court. But in those days, the established, bigger firm normally wouldn’t touch a criminal
case with a ten-foot pole. It was (I guess) considered demeaning. You would have an exception
of course for antitrust criminal cases and tax., but even there, and I found this after I left the
Department, many of the big £inns were just not equipped to practice criminal law. They had no
one that had any experience to practice criminal law, they had never done it. To a certain extent,
after I left the Department and sometimes would deal with the Antitrust Division in criminal
cases, I found that in those days their knowledge of criminal law and criminal procedures really
was not much, which made it to some extent fairly easy pickings from a defense standpoint. I
know one case that went over there. I couldn’t try the case and I asked Bill Jeffress to go down.
He was new in the furn. He had clerked on the Supreme Court, and Covington & Burling had
tried desperately to hire him. but he opted to come with the small firm that we were. He went
down to Louisiana It was a several-count price fixing indictment involving milk and bread
being sold to schools, as I recall, and ended up getting an acquittal for our client. But I remember
going to meetings at the Antitrust Division with Bill, and I was always swprised how little the
government lawyers knew alx>ut the actual process of trying a criminal case and what would be
involved. I’m sure that’s changed now, of course.
Mr. Willens: Do you recall any instances in the 1950s when the Kirkland firm
was asked to take on a criminal matter and declined to do so?
Mr. Miller: Well, no. I know that I took on pro bono matters. I can remember
being appointed to a first degree matter case. Orange Pope was the defendant’s name.
Mr. Willens: What happened to him?
Mr. Miller: Well, a very experienced criminal lawyer was on the case with me
— a great fellow — I’ve forgotten his name for the moment. But I remember an individual who
later became U.S. Attorney was trying the case, Fred — I’ve forgotten his name. The jury was
empaneled, of course. And in making his opening statement to the jury, he used to walk back
and forth behind counsel table addressing the jury, and be would stumble every time he went by,
and the jurors would sway to the right and look to see under the table what be bad stumbled on,
and here was the biggest, rustiest, ugliest looking shotgun — the murder weapon. And then the
jurors would sit up straight with this look on their face. But anyway, he’d put on his case, and as
the case progressed, I remember going back to discuss it with the client. We bad a witness who
was an ahbi witness that he was not present. But I can still remember the coroner getting up and
describing the impact of two barrels of a big shotgun going off at a short distance — of the impact
on the victim’s chest. By the time the coroner finished describing the condition of the person’s
body, I think that the jurors were ready to convict anyone. Then we find out that the alibi witness
had decided that be wasn’t going to testify. As a result, we were able to negotiate a plea, I forget
whether it was second-degree or manslaughter. But you asked the question about the law firm
and I don’t recall. But I do know that Hammond Chaffetz probably came with the firm because
he beat the government in an antitrust case. I think Kirkland was representing Standard Oil or
Amoco, I forget which But by and large, I don’t recall much in the way of criminal work that
was involved in the firm.
Mr. Willens: .Was pro bono work a significant part of your practice in your early
years with Kirkland?
Mr. Miller: No, I don’ t think it was a significant part. As requests would come
in, we would do whatever was needed. Offhand, I can’t recall any others. I know in starting out
that I made a conscious effort to try to represent anybody that would have me. So I did a lot of
work that turned out to be pro bono, in the sense that we weren’t paid for it.
Mr. Willens: What’s your recollection now about the extent to which the bar in
Washington was supportive of pro bono work in the 1950s?
Mr. Miller: Well, if I had to guess, I would question whether the issue ever
came up, surprisingly. I don’t recall it. In those days, I was not very active in the Bar, so it could
have come up and I wouldn’t have known about it. But I think the bar has become much more
active with respect to such matters in recent years than it was when I first started.
Mr. Willens: Is that a good development or a bad one?
Mr. Miller: Oh, I think it’s an excellent development.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned being available to represent anyone who would
have you. Was there some incentive within the firm to acquire one’s own clients rather than
work principally on the firm’s important corporate clients?
Mr. Miller: No. To the contrary, I think what the firm wanted was me to work
on the important paying client, but I always felt that it would be important for me to establish my
own practice. I can’t explain to you why, but I think it’s the concept of being, shall we say, selfsufficient,
because I early on recognized that if you had your own clientele, that would give you
the freedom to stay with the firm or go off on your own or however you wanted to do it.
Mr. Willens: Were there any models, that is as lawyers within. the firm or in the
legal community in Washington, that you particularly respected?
Mr. Miller: Well, in the firm, Louie Caldwell was just a brilliant writer and just
a fine gentleman. I don’t know that he did much in the way of litigation, but his history was as
first General Counsel of the Federal Radio Commission — they had just an incredibly broad
scope of communications practice. I found out very quickly that the last thing in the world I
wanted to be was a communications lawyer, because it was so fact-oriented in terms of what I
considered somewhat minutia. I enjoyed some of the legal issues that came up, but I quickly
decided that the last thing in the world that I wanted to be was a specialist in communications
law. Most of the top lawyers had started there, and they were very good at it. They brought in
some of the best (they call it today) media clients in the country.
Mr. Willens: Did Mr. Caldwell ever edit some of your written work?
Mr. Miller: I’m sure he did, and I’m sure he felt it was nowhere near up to his
standards or capabilities.
Mr. Willens: Did the fact that you did not want to specialize in the
communications field suggest to you that you would not stay with the Kirk.land firm over the
long term?
Mr. Miller: No, because what happened was that when Eleanor Patterson died,
Perry Patterson.came down to represent The Times Herald. [ became in effect the number two
man on that, which was a wonderful client and a very exciting client, and I learned quite a bit
alxmt the law of defamation. Hammond Chaffetz would have antitrust issues which I would
participate in. Then — I forget precisely when it was — I ended up representing Aeronautical
Radio, Inc., which was owned by the airlines and provided all the air-ground communications.
Representation there was primarily corporate representation. Tuey had a subsidiary that had a
substantial government contract for maintainability and reliability research to make sure that the
crucial elements of a piece of equipment that the Navy used on ships would not fail and have the
whole unit become a disaster. So I became somewhat knowledgeable about government
contracts. At the same time, I remember a friend of mine was going to be thrown out of the
Scottie Club —
Mr. Willens: What kind of club?
Mr. Miller: 1brown out of the Scott Tenier Club because he had made some
nasty comment to the judges or something. I remember representing rum in a hearing. There
was just a broad — sometime I’ll go back through my diaries and I’ll tell you what I did.
Mr. Willens: Did you enjoy the variety of work that those assignments found
you in?
Mr. Miller: Very much so. Very much so. And I think the reason that I still
really enjoy practicing law is that when a client comes in the door, all of a sudden you have a
brand new set of facts and a brand new question of how the law applies to those set of facts. And
I just find it a fascinating endeavor to make sure you ascertain what the facts are, which ones you
want, which ones you don’t, and then figuring out where in the law is — that case or that statute
which pennits your client to have a winning case. And even today, I just find it fascinating.
Mr. Willens: Young lawyers today worry a good deal about the need to
specialize. Did you have any sense in the 1950s that you could succeed in the profession without
specializing in communications or any other field?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know if I ever thought about succeeding. I do know that I
concluded early on that in order to be a good lawyer, specialization was out of the question, that
you had to have a broad general background because, particularly if you got into litigation, your
specialization could be of very little help on the broader issues of how to present the case. 1
know that the law has gone 180 degrees from that, but even as late as the time that I left the
Department and opened my own office, I intended to be a general practitioner as distinguished
from having a specialization. I suppose that’s not quite true. I had expected that I would do a lot
of litigation, and I suppose that’s specialization in one sense of the word. But today’s
specialization means focusing on a fairly set standard of antitrust or tax or patents. And now of
course we have the concept of white collar crime, which is becoming a major part of the practice,
and of course I guess I qualify as a specialist in that area simply because I started doing it ahnost
from the beginning. I didn’t intend to, but the clients started coming in, and I did have the
background after four years rnnni:ng the Criminal Division.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any uncertainty as an associate as to whether you
would become a partner at the Kirkland firm?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t recall. I suppose I would naturally be concerned
about it. But I knew that the work I was doing was, if not first rate, at least well accepted, so I
guess I didn’t worry about it too much
Mr. Willens: Were you the senior lawyer on the Air, Inc. matter?
Mr. Miller: Yes. It had started off, like so many things, as a small operation. I
remember I had· done some work over there and a request came that I represent them full time
and I consequently did. It was not a full?time representation, but it did take up a fair amount of
my time for a period.
Mr. Willens: Was that well regarded within the law firm?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. It was a very important client for the law firm, as a matter
of fact. They were very pleased.
Mr. Willens: .Were there any other major clients that you worked on in your
early years with the Kirk.land firm before the Board of Monitors descended upon you?
Mr. Miller: Well, The Times Herald took a lot of work I worked on some of
the antitrust cases. I remember there was a quantity limits proceeding involving tires that ended
up at the Court of Appeals.
Mr. Willens: There is some reference in the materials that your office has
provided me to representation of the American Oil Company, later known as Amoco.
Mr. Miller: Oh, that’s right. We represented Amoco. I’d forgotten that I’d
represented Amoco. They used to have a station at the comer of Massachusetts -Mr.
Willens; And Wisconsin.
Mr. Miller: And Wisconsin. Were you there then?
Mr. Willens: I think I recall hearing about the case or being with the firm as that
representation came to conclusion.
Mr. Miller: Well, it was a station that was built as I recall in the early ’20s. It
was just an ungodly-appearing thing, and for years the government had tried to buy it and Amoco
wouldn’t sell it because it was one of their highest volume stations. lt was in a perfect area for a
gas station. So finally the government, the District of Columbia I guess, got together and went
ahead and condemned it. And we came up with an argument that it had no authority to do so,
and as I recall, challenged the legality of the condemnation use statute for a period. The station
was operating, the company was happy, and we finally got up to the Court of Appeals. Then they
got a stay out of the Supreme Court, but eventually the government went in and demolished the
I remember trying a case where a landlord dealt with whether or not Amoco had
improperly tenninated a lease, and that was in the then Municipal Court. I can’t remember now
who the judge was. Theo I remember another one in the Municipal Court involving title to
property. You’re bringing all this back, Howard.
Mr. Willens: Well, that’s good. That’s in part the pmpose of the project. Do you
have any specific recollection of how you learned that you were going to be invited to become a
partner at the law firm?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t. I think there was a normal period, but I can’t
remember even if that’s true. And I can’t even remember how it happened. I remember that it did
happen, but I can’t remember how I was told or what.
Mr. Willens: Did your practice change at all after you became a partner?
Mr. Miller: I don’t think it changed a bit.
Mr. Willens: Do you recall whether the firm during the 1950s until your
departure in 1961 used what was called a bonus system?
Mr. Miller: At the end of the year, we were given a bonus, yes.
Mr. Willens: What is your recollection of that practice?
Mr. Miller: I was glad to get it, I remember that, and I always enjoyed it
because with the family, it was nice to have a monthly stipend coming in, but then it was always
nice to have all Of a sudden what I considered a large chunk of money. It really wasn’t all that
much, but all at one time, it made you feel like you had come upon a windfall.
Mr. Willens: Do you recall approximately how much money you were making in
the practice of law when you became a partner?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. By today’s standards, it cannot have been much It
was $20,000, $25,000. I don’t tlriDk it would be much over $22,000. I don’t remember. It was
-5 2-
around in that area somewhe?. Of course, the dollar was worth a little bit more in those days,
Mr. Willens: To say the least. Were you living at this point in Maryland, or was
there a time at which you, Carey and your family lived in the District of Columbia?
Mr. Miller: When we first married, apartments were very hard to come by, and
Carey was working up on the Hill. Somebody who worked on the Hill knew the owner of an
apartment over in Glover Park. So we rented a one-bedroom apartment in Glover Park. Let’s
see, we were living there when John was born. Then we eventually found a two-bedroom brick
house over on 26th and N. George Mason Drive over in Arlington. And I think I got a GI loan. I
think I paid something like $10,000, $12,000 for the house, using my gambling winnings from
the Army for the $1,000 downpayment, or $1,500 downpayment, which was an incredible sum of
money in those days for me. We lived there for several years and then bought a house in C”‘b.evy
Chase, Maryland. I think that house cost $21,000. It was on Thornapple Street just off of
Coonecticut. Built in the early ’20s and shingled with a nice screen porch, dirung room, kitchen,
and four bedrooms. Had a stairway to the third floor, which was a playroom/office, radiator heat,
termites. We stayed there for a while until we made the mistake of driving around out in
Potomac in 1959. One Sunday afternoon drove by this house. The weeds were about four feet
high. This brick house was being constructed. So we went in. It had a big piece of land on it; I
later found out five acres. We walked through it in the dark. There were no lights. It didn’t have
electricity yet. So Monday Carey called and said, “I want you to come home early from work.”
So I came home early to the house on Thornapple Street. She came out with a Mason jar of clear
liquid in a glass, and she said, “I’m going to drive,” which was not normal I said, “Why?” She
said, “Well, just get in and be quiet.” So we started driving. We drive out to the house, and I
start drinking what was the cl? liquid, which just happened to be martinis. So I was happily
drinking martinis. We get out to the house, we go through it again, and at 11:30 that night I find
myself talking to the builder and purchasing the house, which, despite the stupidity of the
process, tu.med out to be one of the smartest things we ever did.
Mr. Willens: Tell me a little bit about the Board of Monitors assignment that
came in your direction in the middle of 1959. How did it happen that you got involved with the
Board of Monitors supervision of a consent decree involving the Teamsters Union?
Mr. Miller: Well, John Cassidy knew Martin Francis O’Donoghue.
Mr. Willens: I’m going to have to stop here and ask who was John Cassidy and
when did you first meet him?
Mr. Miller: John Cassidy came to work for the Kirkland firm as a messenger,
as did Ray Larroca, I might add.
Mr. Willens: Two distinguished members of the firm and the bar.
Mr. Miller: We became friends. Somewhere along the line, he had run across
Marty O’Donoghue, who was General Counsel of the Plumbers Union. He was not a part of the
Union; he had bis own practice and was a very well thought of, highly-respected, labor lawyer.
Mr. Willens: Did you personally know Mr. O’Donoghue?
Mr. Miller: No, I may have met him, but I really didn’t know him well. What
had happened, Cy Chastie, who was working with Ed Williams, had put together — no, not Cy
Chastie — a lawyer in Ed’s firm had worked with the Teamsters, and eventually Ed started to
represent the Teamsters. There was a suit brought by dissident Teamsters, Cunningham. et al., to
set aside Hoffa’s election. The case was settled by the entry of a consent decree, which called for
a three-man Board of Monitors, one appointed by the Teamsters, one appointed by the dissidents,
and then the two agreeing on the so-called impartial chairman. The Teamsters, thinking that
Martin O’Donoghue as a labor lawyer would be sympathetic to labor unions because he
represented them I gather most of bis adult life, agreed that be should be the impartial chairman,
and Judge Letts appointed him as such.
Mr. Willens: And the plaintiffs agreed to Martin ODonoghue’s designation.
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes, the plaintiffs agreed to it also. There were serious
problems with the Teamsters in those days. Over-utilization of trusteeships to permit the
International to control the operations of the local unions, and the method of voting was
something less than the best, shall we say, with respect to both local and international officers.
Marty O’Donoghue was so knowledgeable about labor unions and labor law that as he became
involved he began to realize that there were very serious problems and made recommendations
that the Teamsters do certain things. The Teamsters eventually started refusing. The way they
would refuse, they’d band together several locals from around the country, and they would come
in and intervene and challenge what the Monitor bad ordered or recommended.
Mr. Willens: The case I understand was pending before —
Mr. Miller: Judge Letts.
Mr. Willens: Judge Letts. L-e-t-t-s.
Mr. Miller: Yes. L-e-t-t-s.
Mr. Willens: And the Board of Monitors then was trying to bring about change
in the Teamsters Union by going to court and requesting the judge to enforce —
Mr. Miller: Well, actually we were trying to do it by making requests of the
Teamsters, but those requests would be challenged sometimes by the Teamsters Union
International but oftentimes either in conjunction with the International or just by themselves a
bunch oflocals would come in. I think by the time that case was over, it was the longest record
of docket entries of any case in the history of the District Court. The reason was because of the
tremendous volume of litigation that was engendered by the Board of Monitors attempting to
cause these changes to come about in the Teamsters Union.
Mr. Willens: As I recall, the consent decree was entered into in 1959 as a result
of litigation started in 1957. At one point did Chairman O’Donoghue conclude that he needed to
retain outside counsel?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know what the triggering event was, but he realized that,
every time the Board of Monitors tried to accomplish something, litigation would ensue. He, of
course, still had an active practice representing the Plumbers Union, and there was no one else to
do it really. He didn’t have any lawyers to go in and handle the case. So he finally asked if we
would, if the court approved it, agree to represent the Board of Monitors?
it, at this stage.
Mr. Willens: Where was John Cassidy at this point?
Mr. Miller: I think he was working for the Board of Monitors, come to think of
Mr. Willens: He had graduated from law school, and after working with the
Kirkland firm, he went to work elsewhere as a practicing lawyer.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I’m pretty sure John was working over there at the time. To
make a long story short, an application was filed by the Board of Monitors, and of course there
was substantial objection. Eventually Judge Letts authorized it, so we started to represent the
Board of Monitors, and there were specific cases involving alleged conuption that we
represented the Board in. It was really a substantial amount of litigation. Every issue was hotly
contested. Eventually, the Teamsters representative became William Bufalino, who was a lawyer
but who was at one time bead_ of a Teamster local, I think out in the Pittsburgh area or Detroit,
I’ve forgotten which.
Mr. Willens: He became a member of the Board of Monitors?
Mr. Miller: Yes. He became a member. Of course, the Teamsters did not pay
any legal fees, and the Kirkland firm was getting a little concerned because the bill was running
up substantially. So we had, I forget bow many cases we had, how many series of cases we had
before Letts and bow many appeals there were. But I remember going up to argue more than one
appeal in the Court of Appeals. You’ve just shown me the description of the work — that’s very
interesting — 5,170 hours representing fees of $105,000.
Mr. Willens: Sounds like a bargain to me.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Was there some concern within the Kirkland firm in taking on this
fairly unusual representation?
Mr. Miller: Well, there was.
Mr. Willens: Jack, could you repeat what you said about the amount of work that
was put in on the Teamsters Board of Monitors representation.
Mr. Miller: You’ve handed me a summary that I had prepared some time ago. I
see that for the i:,eriod July 23, 1959 through December 31, 1960, the KirkJand firm spent some
5,170 hours with respect to the Monitorship, and the fees were $105,000. And I see here that in
addition to opposition to petition for certiorari, there were over 20 appeals to the Court of
Appeals in this case. That was an incredible number of petitions filed by various locals around
the country challenging the conduct of the Board of Monitors. I remember the firm was
concerned about the amount of the fees that we were owed, and we filed a petition for fees,
which was granted by Judge Letts over the opposition of the Teamsters — violent opposition I
might add — and they appealed that. I was in the Court of Appeals. I think there were two other
appeals I was handling, but also the appeal with respect to our legal fees. Just before I was to
stand up and start arguing the issue of the legal fees, Bill Bufalino, who was by then a member of
the Board of Monitors appointed by the Teamsters, leaned over to me, and he said, “Jack, I want
you to tell the Court of Appeals that your legal services are not worth one red cent.” And I
smiled to myself, thinking, be thinks that I am going to be so upset I won’t think of a word to say.
I couldn’t wait to stand up. And I did stand up. And I addressed the Court of Appeals. I said,
“Before I start with the court please, I’ve been directed by William Bufalino, a Monitor appointed
by the Teamsters, to inform this court that in his opinion, our legal services are not worth one red
cent.” Well, predictably, the three judges on the Court of Appeals looked sour at that and looked
at Bufalino, and they shook their heads, and from then on, there was no question — that’s all I
needed to say. The upshot of it was that they affirmed the award, and the firm eventually was
Mr. Willens: Who did Bufalino replace on the Board of Monitors, if you
Mr. Miller: I’m trying to remember. I don’t know. I’d have to go back and
Mr. Willens: Who was the member of the Board that had been designated by the
plaintiffs in the lawsuit?
Mr. Miller: Originally, it was a lawyer named Smith, Larry Smith.
Mr. Willens: Where was be from?
Mr. Miller: He was from New York, as I recall
Mr. Willens: _Did he stay on the Board of Monitors throughout its lifetime, or
was he replaced at some point?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t even remember that.
Mr. Willens: Did Martin O’Donoghue have some difficulty in getting a majority
of the Board behind a particular reform from time to time?
Mr. Miller: Well, as I recall, for a long period of time, be was able to count on
his vote and the plaintiff designee. But then there came a time when one of the offices was
empty. One of the monitors, whether it was the Teamsters or the plaintiffs, I forget which. So
the question then was could the Board continue to function? I had totally forgotten this. I
remember ending up in settlement negotiations in Judge Letts’ courtroom He would lock the
courtroom, and the Teamster “Bar Association” would come in, and Martin O’Donoghue and I
would come in, and I guess Bufalino was the other monitor. I guess the plaintiffs’ Monitor was
not there. But in any event, to make a long story short, we finally worked out a proposed
settlement which would be embodied in an injunction that would fulfill the things that Marty
thought were necessary. Bufalino had to have been there, because he demanded a hearing before
Judge Letts and went in before Letts and said that since the Board of Monitors is less than [three
members] in effect had no client. And therefore I had no business being in the courtroom
negotiating with the Teamsters and that I should be barred, should not be able to charge for the
time and what have you. Judge Letts listened to all this, and he said, “Well, we’ll solve that
problem right now, Mr. Bu.falino.” And Bufalino said, “Well, how is that, your Honor?” And he
said, ”Mr. Miller will be representing the coun from now on.” And Bu.falino said, “And I assume
the coun will pay his fee.” And Judge Letts said, “We’ll see about that.” As I recall — I hadn’t
thought of that. So in any event, there I was without a client but representing the court.
Mr. Willens: _What was your assessment of Judge Letts’ performance in
supervising the decree’?
Mr. Miller: I thought he really did an outstanding job. It would have been so
easy to become involved in all the intricacies of the litigation and what have you, but he always
managed to stay above the battles. He’d listen to the various things, and then he’d rule. He had
sufficient control to make sure that the process continued. I really admired him for that, because
it was a tough problem and there were more papers filed than you can imagine.
Mr. Willens: Had you had any experience with Judge Letts before the Board of
Monitors assignment?
Mr. Miller: Well, I know I knew him. Now why did I know rum? You know, I
think I’d appeared before him. but I can’t say [in what connection].
Mr. Willens: Do you happen to remember what bis background was?
Mr. Miller: You know, at this stage I do not.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned the number of hours spent on the matter. Did you
have some assistance at the Kirkland firm in representing this client?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. I had one of the fmest young lawyers that ever lived —
Howard Willens.
Mr. Willens: Enough of that. Do you have any recollection as to how you
approached the various associates of the law firm when this client first approached you and you
recognized that you needed some associate help?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t, as a matter of fact Can you refresh my
Mr. Willens: Well, as I recall, three associates did end up working nearly full
time on the case. There were.only four associates at the time, and I was the junior-most of the
four. But Raymond Larroca, who is a name partner of yours for many years, and I guess —
. .,.
Mr. Miller: Joe DuCoeur.
Mr. Willens: I guess Joe DuCoeur, Raymond and I were the three. But that only
left one associate who was not actively engaged. Do you recall now that I’ve refreshed your
recollection as to whether your partners in the l{jrkland finn thought you were placing
unreasonable demands on the limited associate body?
Mr. Miller: Now that you have refreshed my recollection, I realize that I
probably had placed an undue burden on the firm, particularly when I was using most of the
associate help without a guarantee that we’d ever get a dime. So what started off as I think a furn
acceptance that well, this is out of the ordinary, it’s something that would be interesting and
something that we should undertake, I think towards the end they began to worry that I had
involved them in a q1rngmire that would impair the profitability of the firm, if nothing else. But
it was an excellent training source for the youngsters, as well as myself.
Mr. Willens: That was certainly true in my case. This was a very unusual
representation in private practice, as I recall. Was it your first exposure to the problems of labor
racketeering in the United States?
Mr. Miller: Yes, I assume it probably was.
Mr. Willens: How do you think that representation influenced your subsequent
career and your attitudes?
Mr. Miller: Well, obviously when Robert Kennedy called and asked me if I
would run the Criminal Division, the asswnption always was that it was my background with
respect to the Teamsters Union that caused him to eventually decide to choose me. I don’t
believe I was the first choice. _I think others were considered. I’ve been told that. I had met him
on one or two occasions. We were definitely not close, and of course I was politically with the
wrong party. I was a Republican precinct chairman, as a matter of fact. So I just don’t know. I
assume that that might have been the reason. I hope another reason was that I thought I was a
pretty gooci lawyer. I think I bad a reputation as one, I don’t know.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any personal dealings with Senator Kennedy or his
staff during the course of the Board of Monitors representation?
Mr. Miller: I don’t recall any dealings with Senator Kennedy; we’re talking
about Jack Kennedy now, of course. His staff on occasion I would meet with to get information.
Who was the general counsel?
Mr. Willens: The general counsel of —
Mr. Miller: Of that Connnittee.
Mr. Willens: I don’t remember. But was Bob Kennedy working on the Hill at
that time for the so-called McClellan Committee?
Mr. Miller: Well, Bob Kennedy started off in the Department of Justice in the
Internal Security Division and then eventually ended up working for the McClellan Committee.
But Adlerman was the General Counsel.
Mr. Willens: So you recall having some meetings with Mr. Adlennan?
Mr. Miller: Yes. If I needed information about some of these various lawsuits
that were filed, either I or a member of the firm would go down and talk. with him I think I met
Paul Tierney, who died just last week as a matter of fact and ended up as Chairman of the
Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. Willens: How about Walter Sheridan?
Mr. Miller: .I met Walter Sheridan.
Mr. Willens: What was his job at the time?
Mr. Miller: He was an investigator for the McClellan Committee. I did deal
with him fairly often, I would say, as to trying to find out, when these petitions were filed, what
the facts were and whether or not the Committee had any infonnation. We were taking
depositions on certain issues that had been raised. I remember one was the case, and one
involved a bank out in Indiana One was out in Kansas City, was it?
that was.
Mr. Willens: I don’t know; I keep thinking of Sun Valley, but I don’t know where
Mr. Miller: Well, Sun Valley, yes. That was down in Florida.
Mr. Willens: Compared with your other professional assignments, the Board of
Monitors represe ntation involved a certain amount of public exposure in the community, isn’t
that correct?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Did you feel that as a result of that representation you got to know
more lawyers and others than you might otherwise have done?
Mr. Miller: Oh, I don’t think there’s any question about that. Of course, I’d
known Ed Williams. The first time I met Ed Williams was when we were representing The
Times Herald. The Senate Committee investigated The Times Herald use of a cropped
photograph of then Maryland Senator Tydings, I guess it probably was, come to think of it, and
Earl Browder, the socialist. I remember there was an inquiry on that. There was a crimmal case
involving campaign funds. I remember that we recommended that this individual, whoever it
was, hire Ed Wtlliams as his counsel I had known Ed before, but we worked together on that
case. And then of course, he ]:,ecame General Counsel to the Teamsters and I spent a lot of time
with him and with other people in his firm.
Mr. Willens: Was he active in representation of the International during the
period that you were representing the Board of Monitors?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: What is your assessment today of Ed Williams as a person and a
Mr. Miller: Well, he was obviously a top•tlight trial lawyer. No question about
that. I guess we danced to a different drummer. We were friends. We would have lunch
together, but I don’t think we were ever close.
Mr. Willens: How did the Board of Monitors litigation ultimately come to
Mr. Miller:
really remember.
As I recall, we finally had a final judgment settling it, but I can’t
Mr. Willens: I have a recollection, which may have no basis, that there came a
point at which the Court of Appeals concluded that the litigation had become the quagmire that
you referred to earlier and that it perhaps was not an appropriate use of judicial resources.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Does that have any resonance with you?
Mr. Miller: I’ll tell you what I remember, and we can check the records easy
enough. But I remember that maybe the Court of Appeals had indicated that, but certainly I
thought that we finally did have a closing settlement agreement that was worked out in Judge
Letts’ courtroom. but the record will show. As I sit here today, I don’t have a specific recollection
of how it came about.
Mr. Willens: But as it happened, the papers suggest that it came to conclusion
just a few months before you were invited to join the administration as the bead of the Criminal
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t even know that. What was the timing?
Mr. Willens: Well, the piece of paper that you’re referring to did tabulate hours
and costs for the period from a point in 1959 through the end of 1960. It maybe it extended into
1961, but I don’t have any personal recollection.
Mr. Miller:
tell you about later.
My recollection is it was over by that time. I have a recollection I’ll
Mr. Willens: What is your overall assessment today of the utility of the Board of
Monitors technique for implementing that kind of controversial consent decree?
Mr. Miller: The Board of Monitors lacked sufficient power, really, to
accomplish the end. Subsequently, you had litigation involving the Teamsters where there has
been appointed in effect almost an independent overseer who has bad the authority to effect the
reforms by direct orders. And I’m told without knowing that that bad been very effective. The
Board of Monitors’ power and authority were not really clearly spelled out in the consent decree.
In retrospect, I think everyone would agree it was a procedure worked out whereby Jimmy Hoffa
would assume the presidency of the Teamsters Union as so-called provisional president under
this consent decree, and once that happened, the game was set. He was not about to accept
anything that would cause him to have to step down and he was going to continue to run the
Teamsters Union as it had been run in the past. That is my personal estimation.
Mr. Willens: What is your recollection of the first approach made to you with
respect to entering the admn:li$tration as Assistant Attorney Gen eral?
Mr. Miller: How did it happen, you mean?
Mr. Willens: Yes.
Mr. Miller: Well, I remember it quite clearly. I had attended a meeting at the
Departmeni of Justice early on where matters were discussed, but they were only interested in
what information I had derived.
Mr. Willens: A meeting with whom?
Mr. Miller: Well, Bob Kennedy was there, I remember, and I think Bill
Mr. Willens: This would have been early in the administration?
Mr. Miller: Yes, very early.
Mr. Willens: January or February’!
Mr. Miller: Yes. Very early on. I don’t know, it was a 2-day meeting
reviewing some of the things that I had ascertained during my representation. But I came home
from work one night and found my wife very upset with my two sons and said, “Now I know
you’ve done something wrong. But the family will stick by you, and whatever you’ve done
wrong, we’ll tough it out.” And I said, “What the hell you talking about?” tlri:nking of all the
things that I had done wrong and wondering which one might have surfaced. And she said in
very somber tones, “The Attorney General of the United States wants you to call immediately.”
And this was 7: 15; I was just coming home from the office. So I thought, well, so I had a drink,
and then I called, and Angie Novello answered the phone. I had met her before. I said, “This is
Herbert J. Miller, Jr.” She said, “Jack, come off it.” I said, “Why am I being called?” She said,
“Wait a minute. 111 put the Attorney General on.” Bob came on the phone and said, “I want you
to be the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Can you do the job?” And I said,
“Well, I can do any job that there is, but you’ve got to know that I have some problems.” He said,
“Well, what are those?” I said, “Well, I’m a Republican, and I’m a Republican precinct chairman,
and the furn I’m with was started by Colonel Rohen R. McCormick of The Chicago Tribune, and
I represent Clients that are the antithesis of what I think the Kennedy administration is going to be
all about.” And he said, “I don’t give a damn about any of that. Are you sure you can do the
job?” And I said, “Sure. But shouldn’t we discuss it?” He said, “All right. Make an
appointment tomorrow afternoon.” So I called Angie back, and she said, “Come in at 2:00.” So I
went back and I outlined all this stuff, and he said, “Fine. Do you want it?” And I said “Yes. I’ll
need a month or so to get rid of my practice.” He said, ”That’s unacceptable. You’ve got a week
at the most and I hope less.”
Mr. Willens: So was there any reservation at all expressed on bis part about your
Republican affiliation?
Mr. Miller: Not at all. Not at all. None whatsoever. He must have checked
around enough that he trusted that I would play it straight. Because if you stop to analyze it, you
know, the President’s brother is Attorney General, and the Criminal Division, while maybe not
the most important position publicity-wise, if anything went wrong in that Division or any
sugg estion that the Criminal Division was being used in a partisan manner, it would be
something that would really operate to the detriment of the Kennedy administration. In
retrospect, it’s just unbelievable that he would in effect take that chance with me, because he
didn’t know me that well.
Mr. Willens: Aside from the 2-day meeting in which you had participated earlier
in the year?
Mr. Miller: . No, it was not. It was just half a day.
Mr. Willens: Half a day.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any other information as to who may have contributed
to his judgffient that you be hired?
Mr. Miller: Well, I’m sure that Walter Sheridan, who I’d become fairly close to,
and John Cassidy working with Walter. But beyond that, I really don’t know.
Mr. Willens: Was John Cassidy now working with Walter Sheridan? Or was he
employed by the Criminal Division at that time?
Mr. Miller:
actually gone over.
You know, that I don’t remember. He was going to be, if he hadn’t
Mr. Willens: Did you know that Walter Sheridan was going to be part of the
Criminal Division roster at the time you agreed to be the Assistant Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I knew he was officially over there at the time. I reminded
Walter, as a matter of fact. He called me shortly before President Kennedy nominated Bob
Kennedy to be Attorney General, and I spent an hour and a half on the phone explaining very
carefully why that should not happen. Which I’m sure was reported to him I’ve never been so
wrong in my lifi, because he was just an incredibly effective Attorney General. Everybody was
proud to work for him
Mr. Willens: Did you in fact manage to arrange your affairs in private practice
within a week?
Mr. Miller: I think in less than a week I was over there. I was sworn in as
some kind of a special employee and then started right in. Eventually I went up and testified
before Senator Eastland for tQe Senate confirmation.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection of the confirmation process?
Mr. Miller: Toe confirmation process was incredibly simple. I went up. I
think Glenn Beall, one of the Maryland senators, introduced me.
Mr. Willens: WM he a Republican or Democrat?
Mr. Miller: He’s a Republican. The questioning was quite perfunctory, I
remember that. I think if you’d look at the printed hearings, I doubt if it was over three or four
Mr. Willens: At the time you were confirmed, had the other Assistant Attorney
Generals been publicly announced or appointed?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Just about all of them were on board — Burke Marshall,
Katzenbach and Oberdorfer.
Mr. Willens: Did you know any of them?
Mr. Miller: I had, for some reason I can’t remember why. I remember I’d met
with Katzenbach before the call came about some matter. I don’t even remember what it was at
tbis stage of the game. I knew Burke Marshall because of the Hush-A-Phone case, among other
met him
Mr. Willens: Had you known the Deputy Attorney General before you were
Mr. Miller: No. Well, he was in that meeting, but that’s the first time I’d ever
Mr. Willens: What was the reaction within the Kirkland finn to this invitation to
join the Kennedy administration?
Mr. Miller: . I assume they thought I would be better off staying in private
practice, but I can’t remember that. It was a great surprise. They were no more surprised than I
was. You should know better than I what the reaction was.
Mr. Willens: How about yow- family reaction? Yow- father’s reaction and yowmother’s
Mr. Miller: Oh, my father was both pleased and worried. My mother was very
Mr. Willens: Why so?
Mr. Miller: Because I was going to work for a Democratic administration.
Mr. Willens: She had strong political views, I gather.
Mr. Miller: She had very strong political views. I think my father sort of felt
the same way, but he was very supportive.
Mr. Willens: How about Carey?
Mr. Miller: Well, she didn’t know what to think. You know, it’s a new
endeavor. She didn’t know what we were getting into. But she was very, very supportive. Told
me to absolutely do it, don’t even give it another thought.
Mr. Willens: How did you go about trying to get a handle on what the Criminal
Division had do:he and what it ought to be doing?
Mr. Miller: I got you to come over there, if you want to know the truth of the
matter. But what I did before you got there, I sat down with Bill Foley, who was the career first
assistant Criminal Division and said, “Okay, tell me about this situation. What’s going on?” And
the rest of it just came from the flow of paper and calls and decisions that had to be made. Ed
Silberling bad been brought down from New York. Actually, be thought he was going to have
my job, and he ended up as h?ad of the Organized Crime Section, which was going to be a very
important part of the Attorney General’s program. But I went around and met the various section
heads and sat down with them and tried to find out as quickly as I could what was going on. I
remember immediately becoming enmeshed in the Attorney General’s crime program. I bad to
sit down, aD.d I remember one of the first things I did was help draft legislation or revise some
that bad been drafted. I spent a fair amount of time early on testifying on the Hill
Mr. Willens: In support of the proposed legislation?
Mr. Miller: In support of the proposed legislation. And all of it went through
It was the first major set of legislation in that area that had gone through in some time, as I recall.
Mr. Willens: Is that what we called at the time the “Travel Act”?
Mr. Miller: The ”Travel Act” was one of them Yes, indeed.
Mr. Willens: What was the general thrust of that federal effort, as you recall?
Mr. Miller: Well, leaving legislation to one side, I think the major thrust was to
try to get a focus on organized crime and to do it by trying to bring some semblance — there was
always some, but even more — of coordination. The first thing that I found out was that there
were 26 federal investigative agencies, all of whom had their own hierarchy and all of whom had
their own statutory jurisdiction. Of course, you’d normally think of the FBI as being the lead
investigative agCncy, and indeed it has the broadest investigative authority. But it traditionally
did not operate in the fields where organized crime had staked out its business operations. So we
set up a unit, called an intelligence unit, to try to coordinate the knowledge that the various
agencies had with respect to particular operations or individuals. We wanted legislation which
would give the FBI jurisdiction it did not have — traveling across state lines and thereafter
committing an act of bribery, let’s say. And trying to focus the effort on what the problem was.
Mr. Willens: . Certainly the published reports at the time and the intervening
years suggested the Bureau bad made a conscious decision not to get involved in some aspects of
organized crime. Is that a correct evaluation?
Mr. Miller: Well, I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision, but the Bureau’s
reputation was based on areas other than organized crime. Tuey did a fantastic job in their area.
Of course, the question came up immediately, what was organized crime? lbat’s one of the first
questions I asked. And I received the standard answer — it’s an organization of more than one
person and they’re organized to commit certain criminal acts. So then I said, “Well, is there a
Mafia?” Well, for years the Bureau had taken the position that the Mafia as such did not exist. I
found out after I’d been at the Criminal Division for a while that there was a major opus delivered
to the Criminal Division called “The Mafia: Part 1.” And I think two copies were delivered, and
within 24 or 48 hours, both copies were retrieved and returned to the FBI.
Mr. Willens: When were they delivered?
Mr. Miller: That was before. It was in 1959 or 1960. I found that out by
talking to people in the Criminal Division. But the whole issue came to a head over Valachi.
Mr. Willens: Who was Mr. Valacbi?
Mr. Miller: Well, Valacbi was, as he testified, a long-time member of the
Mafia going baCk into the ’30s if not the ’20s and was in prison for — I forget the offense, but he
was in for a long period of time. While imprisoned, somebody attempted to kill him, and he
managed to kill that person himself. So I remember getting a call from the Assistant U.S.
Attorney who said, “You know, this fellow was in prison, but he’d been charged with a murder
and was telling this rather strange story about the Mafia.” So I got the Bureau of Narcotics to go
down and interview V alachi. Eventually he was taken out and placed in. another prison where
they could have access. They_ debriefed him for I guess about 2 months.
Mr. Willens: Why did you select the Bureau of Narcotics?
Mr. Miller: Because the Bureau of Narcotics always took the position that the
FBI was dead wrong — that there were Mafia families operating within the United States. They
had all kinds of information to support their belief, but the official position of the Department of
Justice was that it didn’t exist. So after the Bureau found out that Narcotics was interviewing
Valachi at great length, they were very, very anxious to. But we waited until Narcotics had
finished and provided us with a report, and then the Bureau took over. And they interviewed him
at great length and eventually came up with a report that there was this organization called the
Mr. Willens: Did the Bureau’s report differ in any significant respect from the
Bureau of Narcotics?
Mr. Miller: I can’t recall — certainly not in the substance.
Mr. Willens: At that point, did the Bureau then assume jurisdiction?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Then, for example, there was an article that Hoover sent I
think to the Northwestern Law Journal describing this organization, the Cosa Nostra and the
families and what have you. From then on, the only thing left was to try to make sure that the
public understoOd. Senator McClellan wanted very mu.ch to have V alachi as a witness. There
was strong opposition to that. But I felt it was absolutely necessary to do it so that if we’re going
to have an effective fight again.st crime, then at a minimum you’ve got to know what the hell
you’re fighting and what’s going on. And that’s not only true at our level, but true oflaw
enforcement at the various levels — state, county, municipalities and throughout the country. So
Valacbi testified and laid out what he knew, and the press reaction was, he was the songbird, but
it did effectively establish the presence of these organizations. Thereafter, it was an accepted
fact. So that was a substantial accomplislnnent.
Mr. Willens: That was accomplished in the early years of your tenure, as I recall.
Was that 1961 or 1962′
Mr. Miller: I forget the date, but it probably would have been, yes. And it had
a dramatic effect on law enforcement efforts with respect to the Mafia. It also had a dramatic
effect on the type of legislation that was enacted. For example, I know we tried to get
wiretapping in, but that didn’t go. I don’t think that happened until after I left. I remember
testifying on it. A limited type where there would be court approval, that kind of thing. Now, as
you know, the law pennits in effect a trespass, to plant a bug under a court order, and if you look
at some of the major Mafia prosecutions to date, you’ll find that they are based on recorded
conversations which spell out totally the type of operation, the type of crimes, and indeed what
the Mafia consists of.
Mr. Willens: Do you feel that the Department of Justice was successful in
facilitating cooperation among the various law enforcement agencies at the federal level during
your tenure?
Mr. Miller: How successful we were, I don’t know. We tried very hard, and at
a minimum whai we were able to do was to get the information of the various agencies ourselves
and act as a conduit, if nothing else. But I do think it certainly was the case before that they were
each acting very much independently, and Robert Kennedy as the Attorney General was able to
cause them to cross reference with one another and to work together a hell of a lot more than had
ever been accomplished in the past. And anything that wasn’t done because of lack of
cooperation, we’d step in and be the conduit of the information and solve the problem.
Mr. Willens: _Do you feel that the Criminal Division assumed a new set of
responsibilities under Bob Kennedy?
Mr. Miller: In that field, very definitely. Very, very definitely.
Mr. Willens: What was the reaction of the career staff in the Division to this new
set of priorities and programs?
Mr. Miller: Originally I bad the feeling they thought that this was son of a —
oh, say a publicity stunt, you know, everybody comes in with talk about how they’re going to
achieve things, and they expected some publicity and then the whole thing would die down. But
as a practical matter, the thing never did die down and just continued right on, at least up to the
assa,;sination of Jack Kennedy and Robert’s leaving.
Mr. Willens: Why don’t we leave it there for the day, Jack, and we’ll pick it up at
this point. Thank you.
_ Interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr.
December 9, 1996
Mr. Willens: This is Howard Willens speaking. This is the third interview of
Herbert J. Miller, Jr. as part of the Oral History Project of the District of Columbia Circuit
Historical Society. The date is December 9, 1996. Mr. Miller and I completed two previous
interviews in November of 1995, and my commitments have precluded our getting together at an
earlier date. Jack, than k you for being available again for this project. On reviewing the two
previous transcripts, I notice that we were up to the point at which you joined the Department of
Justice in the early months of 1961 as part of the Kennedy administration. I wonder if we might
concentrate on those years for a short time and get some of your recollections of the personalities
and events that were so memorable during those critical years. You mentioned earlier the name
of Ed Silberling who became head of the Organized Crime Section of the Criminal Division.
What, generally, were your objectives with respect to the Organized Crime Section after you
came into your position as Assistant Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: I think one of the main objectives was to obtain whatever
information we could about the workings of organized crime. When I went in, there was a
dispute among federal investigative agencies as to whether there did exist what in newspaper talk
has been called the Mafia The Bureau of Narcotics strongly believed and argued that there was a
Mafia in existence operating in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conceded
that there was in fact organized groups operating in the United States but had never gone on
record outside the Department declaring that the Mafia did in fact exist.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned earlier on the role that Mr. Valachi played in
stimulating agency interest and public interest in the Mafia
Mr. Miller: Yes. I don’t know if we covered it before. I remember receiving a
phone call from an Assistant U.S. Attorney down in Atlanta telling me that he had an individual
by the name of V alachi who had killed another inmate in an altercation in prison and, in order to
enter into a plea agreement, agreed to disclose his knowledge of the Mafia — of which he claimed
to have been a member for many, many years.
Mr. Willens: You did describe that briefly. One thing I was interested in upon
reviewing the transcript was that you were convinced that public testimony was a very important
step in bringing about a change in federal enforcement efforts directed at the Mafia
Mr. Miller: Well, the ooly way that we could get unanimity of the 26-plus
federal investigative agencies as to whether the Mafia existed as a major organized crime force in
the United States was to be able to prove its existence. My word against the FBI would have
been of little value in achieving th.at. So when this Assistant called with this story, I agreed that
we should enter into the plea agreement. Then I called the Bureau of Narcotics and asked if they
would take Mr. Valachi and debrief him, which they did over a period of many months.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember any discussions with either the Attorney General
or the Deputy Attorney General when you first learned of this prospect and what it might mean to
the federal effort against organized crime?
Mr. Miller: You know, after all these years I cannot remember discussing it
with either Byron White or Bob Kennedy, but I can guarantee you that I did, because both of
them were very interested. Of course, Byron may have left by then. I don’t think so. But I would
definitely have discussed the matter with them and reported to them I’m sure the files will
demonstrate that once the Bureau of Narcotics had completed their debriefing of rvtr. V alacbi,
there were memoranda prepared and of course they were made available to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Then they came to me and wanted very much to interview this individual. And, of
c ourse, I agreed.
Mr. Willens: Was that decision within your discretion to make?
Mr. Miller: Yes, it was in my discretion to make, but I’m sure I discussed it
with the Deputy and the Attorney General before I did.
Mr. Willens: Was the FBI upset because you bad authorized the Bureau of
Narcotics to do the initial debriefing?
Mr. Miller: Knowing how things operated, they probably felt that they were the
ones who should have originally interviewed Valachi. I was worried about doing that, because I
knew the Bureau’s public position as to the existence of the so-called Mafia. I knew what the
Bureau of Narcotics position was. I had learned that maybe 6 months or a year before I had
arrived at the Department, the Bureau had sent over a long memorandum called “The Mafia: Part
1” in which they had spelled out, or had started to spell out, the existence of the Mafia That
publication was retrieved from the Department, and I never saw another copy, and the Criminal
Division did not have a copy. So I was interested from my own standpoint as to whether the
Mafia existed, because it has a direct bearing on how you attempt to mount an organized crime
Mr. Willens: Did you ever learn what had precipitated the FBI preparation of
that paper and why it had been retrieved from the Department by the Bureau?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know that I ever learned why it was retrieved. My vague
recollection is that there bad been some public hearing or incident which bad caused the Bureau
to prepare such a report. I connect with it some hearings up in New York — I just don’t
Group —
Mr. Willens: Well, I guess dilling the 1950s was the time of the Apalachin
Mr. Miller: Well, the Apalachin meeting actually was a little later in the 1950s.
But the case based on the Apalachin meetings was eventually reversed in the Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit. But that to me was clear evidence of the existence of an organized group,
just from the fact that all of these individuals wou]d come together and, by hearsay evidence at
least, there was knowledge within local police departments and other federal investigative
agencies that they were the heads of the various parts of the Mafia
Mr. Willens: In what respects did you believe that —
Mr. Miller: That was 1962 when it was reversed, by the way.
Mr. Willens: So the particular meeting may have occurred in the late 1950s.
Mr. Miller: Yes, it was either 1968 or —
Mr. Willens: 1958?
Mr. Miller: 1958. I think it had been reversed when I got to the Department.
Mr. Willens: I see. Why did you believe that knowledge of such an organized
criminal endeavor was important to the development of a federal strategy for dealing with the
Mr. Miller: Well, there are two ways to operate in law enforcement. One is
what I call the reactive way; namely, if a murder is committed, you investigate it. ff a car is
stolen, you investigate it. Another way is that an incident occurs, and you then ascertain who
was involved and was there a violation oflaw. In many of the so•called consent crimes like
gambling and narcotics, I guess you could throw in the white slave traffic, you really don’t have a
complaining witness, in large part. And these things will operate by consensus with the user and
with the criminal organization, and the misconduct will never surface unless there is an inside
leak or somebody happens to take a look. The only way you get into and put a stop to that type
of an organization’s operation is to go out and investigate before you even know the existence of
a crime — to see in what areas they’re operating, what the operation is, are they engaged in loansharking,
are they engaged in other illegal activities. For example, just recently in the Court of
Appeals you had them taking over and controlling the concrete industry. Every major high-rise
in New York was in effect controlled by way of financial levies by the Mafia itself So if you are
going to assume there is an organized crime problem and you want to have an effective program,
you cannot sit back and wait for a crime to be committed. Crimes are going on without anybody
complaining, and it is necessary to go out and ascertain what the situation is. That’s why public
knowledge of the existence of the Mafia as such was, I thought, a very necessary part of any
program. Because if the public realized what the problem was and how it had been operating,
then they would insist that their own local police department and State Attorney General get
involved to attempt to eradicate this problem The federal government in those days had quite
limited resources with respect to this issue. We could not possibly do it all. And you had one of
the major (and probably the absolutely best) investigative agencies, the FBI, taking the position
that this criminal hierarchy and operation did not exist. So that it was absolutely essential, in my
view, to (a) find out if there was a Mafioso controlling sections of organized crime and then (b) it
was necessary to publicize that fact and that in turn would and did generate the Federal Bureau of
Investigation to begin looking into that area The other thing we did as part of Robert Kennedy’s
organized crime legislative package was to get the Bureau into certain areas that they had not
been in before. They had always enforced the so-called White Slave Act, interstate
transportation of women for innnoral purposes, but they had not been involved in gambling, nor
had they been involved in narcotics investigations. So in terms of gambling. for the first time,
their investigative jurisdiction by reason of legislation passed was fixed in the FBI. Then there
was the Travel Act that you’re very familiar with, if an individual crossed state lines and
thereafter committed a crime, that then became a federal felony, and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation was given investigative jurisdiction over that particular statute. So it’s like anything
else in life — if you have a problem, the first thing you’ve got to do is know what the problem is if
you’re going to attempt to resolve it.
Mr. Willens: Did the Attorney General come into his position in 1961 with any
view one way or the other as to the existence of an organized crime machinery like the Casa
Nostra or the Mafia?
Mr. Miller: Robert Kennedy definitely knew that there were different types of
organized criminal elements. I guess the one that had the most publicity was Jimmy Hoffa and
the Teamsters Union and the type of conduct that various locals of the Teamster Union engaged
in. And that’s a good example, too, because the local officials will tell you that a major local -local
777 out in Chicago — was controlled by the Mafia. You had Corallo up in New York. You
had a guy who just recently died, the one who the FBI (I think) believes murdered Hoffa, Tony
Provaozano, whom we convicted of extortion in the 1960s, who controlled one of the major
unions there. Mafia control was certainly not in every Teamsters Union throughout the United
States, but it was in major Teamster Unions in some metropolitan areas. And of course whether
he believed that was the Mafia or not, I don’t know if we ever sat down and talk.ed about it, but
we sure as hell believed that that was organized crime that had invaded the labor movement. No
question about that. Of course, as he would travel around as he did, he would go to Chicago, for
example, and meet with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office, and other investigative agencies. He
would then get at ground level with the investigative agencies, and learn what the prosecuting
official felt as to what the organized crime problem was in these various jurisdictions. I can’t
remember if he ever proclaimed there was the Mafia If he bad, I don’t know what the Bureau
would have done. But the whole thing became moot because Senator McClellan, having beard of
the existence of V alachi and having become aware of what bis information was, wanted him to
appear before a Senate Committee. And it created, I won’t say a major confrontation, but there
was a strong argument in the Department, should he appear or should be not. I argued strongly
that he should appear, because I thought that law enforcement across the country and that people,
citizens of the country generally, legislative officials and all those worrying about crime, should
have the knowledge that we in the Department had. The FBI strongly opposed his being a
witness, and the decision was made by Robert Kennedy that he would be a witness, and he was.
Mr. Willens: After his public testimony, was there any debate within the
Department as to the strategy that ought to be followed, or was there a consensus that the strategy
that you outlined earlier was the one that ought to be pursued?
Mr. Miller: Well, I’m trying to think, in effect we had been going down that
path. Now it became easier. I remember that J. Edgar Hoover almost contemporaneously with
the testimony of Mr. Valachi came out with a law review article, I forget whether it was
Northwestern Law School or what it was, in which he outlined the organization of the Mafia as
V alachi had already given to us in private. I think it was ju.st prior to his testimony, as a matter
of fact. So then that major investigative organization was publicly embracing the fact that the
Mafia existed and was a very serious law enforcement problem, and in so doing it also had to
admit that it bad existed since the 1920s if not before. The question is what had been done with
respect to it and what steps had been taken. I think it was these disclosures eventually that led to
the broadening of the scope of wire tap legislation. We tried to get it through and did not; it
came later. And then, of course, the even more controversial step of permitting law enforcement
officers to trespass in order to plant recording devices. This latter step, if you go back and review
the history of the prosecutions of the major Mafia leaders, in every one of those cases the proof
came not from mouths of live witnesses, all of whom ( or many of whom or most of whom) are
too afraid to talk for fear they’ll be killed, but it came from these listening devices wherein the
various schemes that the Mafioso leaders and their subalterns had put together as to what crimes
they were going to commit. It’s one case after another. I mean the Gatti case (I suppose) is one
of the most recent ones. We had another one up in Rhode Island. So that ability to listen in to
the actual planning of the various crimes turned out to be just a spectacular breakthrough and
proved conclusively that the Mafia had existed for years, and still existed. But its power has
been greatly diminished because of this law enforcement activity.
Mr. Willens: Were those various steps to increase investigative authority
opposed by civil rights organizations and others?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. No question about it. I remember going up and testifying
on the attempt to expand and change the 1934 Communications Act which, while supposedly
prohibiting wiretapping, actually had language which pennitted (at least in the view of the
Bureau and other investigative agencies) them to tap anyone they wanted to as long as they didn’t
divulge it. And providing the information to the Criminal Division was not a divulgence by their
interpretation of the law. So you had widespread wiretapping going on that was not subject to
regulation. And our thought was to expand the scope of wiretapping but have it subject to
judicial review, i.e., at the outset when you were going to install it, have it be a requirement that
the government agencies pro,ie that its continuation was absolutely essential based on
information that they had derived. But it met with strong opposition from civil rights groups. I
can remember The Washington Post was violently opposed initially. I don’t know where they
stand now. But I think the results demonstrate that it was an invasion of privacy, to be sure, but
one which has paid substantial dividends in terms of law enforcement.
Mr. Willens: Do you think the debate on issues like that is different today than it
was 30 years ago in light of public concern about crime in the United States?
Mr. Miller: The situation today is (I would say) 180 degrees turned around
from where it was when I was running the Criminal Division. It is one of the most dangerous
situations that I can imagine from an individual liberty standpoint. Because crime now has
become a major concern to the citizenry of the United States, it is necessary for those who seek
public office to adopt a very hard line in terms of passing statutes and punishing offenders. In
my day in the Department of Justice, if we wanted to expand the federal criminal jurisdiction,
which was very limited, there was a long series of careful dehberations by the Senate
committees. We had to convince the members of that Committee that the legislation was
absolutely essential. Nowadays, if you talk to the Department of Justice or talk to people on the
Hill, you’ll find legislators are calling in to find out what law they can propose to expand the
federal criminal jurisdiction. And it has created a situation where it is exceedingly dangerous
from a civil rights standpoint, because there are now statutes on the book that we never ( a) would
have proposed and (b) would have gotten the Congress to agree to, which are impossible for the
ordinary citizen to understand. Indeed, I like to think. of myself as having experience in the
criminal law, since I now practice it. It’s impossible for me to understand where the limits of
these statutes are. I mean the money laundering statute is ExlnOit A It is the most blatant
expansion of federal criminal jurisdiction that you can imagine. And it ensnares innocent people
(I hasten to say of course they’re not innocent because they violated the law) engaged in innocent
conduct that become ensnared, and they are now guilty of money laundering. It’s a national
disgrace as far as I’m concerned. But who in public office has the power to say, my God, we
should go back and revisit these issues and make sure that we haven’t gone beyond what was
intended and have given the prosecutors and the investigative agency tools that can put almost
anybody in the United States in jail if they spent enough time on it. Does that answer your
Mr. Willens: Yes, it certainly does. Going back to the subject of resources
available to the Criminal Division in the Justice Department in the 1960s, what were your
directions from the Attorney General, if any, about enlarging the Criminal Division and utilizing
resources as effectively as possible?
Mr. Miller: Well. not the first thing but one of the major steps, was to increase
the Criminal Division, the number of lawyers we had. The other thing that was vitally important
was to try to coordinate in this organized crime area the investigative activities and knowledge of
the over 26 federal investigative agencies. In furtherance of that step, we started an intelligence
unit in the Organized Crime Section, which would see what the various investigative agencies
were doing in particular areas or involving some particular individuals who we knew were
engaged in organized criminal activities. That way, if we couldn’t see that an individual had
connnitted a gangland murder, for example, because the witnesses were all dead, we might very
well find that he had submitted an application for federal financing in buying bis house and bis
alleged source of income and amount of income was false, which would be a § 1001 violation.
Also we would in the course of investigation turn up information that would suggest tax
Mr. Willens: You will recall that that particular strategy was the subject of some
debate in the public arena and within the Department. Is that your recollection?
Mr. Miller: There was a strong feeling voiced by some that going from (as I
said before) a reactive type of law enforcement to going out and actually trying to find if certain
organizations or individuals had committed crimes, the latter was absolutely a wrong and
improper approach. I think that whole argument focused pretty much on the Teamsters Union
and Jimmy Hoffa Despite the fact that many of the Teamster locals we knew privately (and I
think it has been proved since then) were controlled by Mafia leaders. And in fact, not too long
ago, I remember when the National Commission on Organized Crime was holding bearings or
submitted a report, a later President of the Teamster Union, I can’t remember his name,
Fitzgerald, was it? No, Fitzsimmons? I’ve forgotten. He actually testified in one or more trials
that the bead of the Teamsters Union was controlled by the Mafia.
Mr. Willens: But so far as you were concerned, if you could find a federal law
violation based on falsification of an application for a federal housing loan by a person believed
to be a member of organized crime, it was appropriate and necessary for the federal law
enforcement machinery to pursue that violation?
Mr. Miller: Absolutely. I mean (a) we would pursue some widow who’d done
the same thing, hopefully not, but it has happened unfornmately. But where you have an
individual that’s engaged in criminal acts as a way of earning a living, it’s a very appropriate way.
In those days it was exceedingly difficult because of the Code of Omerta to get one member of
the Mafia to testify against another.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember approximately the size of the Criminal Division
when you took office in 1961.and its size when you left in 1965?
Mr. Miller: I might ask you for your recollection, but what did we have — 56
Mr. Willens: I recall it being significantly under 100 at the time I arrived which
was a few months after you were there and I think it grew to about 160 at some point down the
Mr. Miller: Now I have no idea what it is, but it’s a lot bigger now than it was
Mr. Willens: Toe Organized Crime Section of the Criminal Division used to
have the principal function of coordinating and supervising from a distance the prosecutions
actually initiated and staffed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Is that generally your recollection of
what the practice was?
Mr. Miller:· That’s what the practice was.
Mr. Willens: Now in what respects did you try to provide a new mode of
operation for the Organized Crime Section that would give those lawyers under your direction a
more active role in implementing the strategy you have descnoed?
Mr. Miller: Because the main law enforcement officer in the various districts is
the U.S. Attom;y, an individual who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate,
not necessarily shall we say employed by the Attorney General as such, whereas the people in the
Department of Justice have the Attorney General as their boss. So you had then and still have
this dichotomy in the authority to determine what you’re going to look at in terms of violations
and how you’re going to handle various cases. And when you have 92 (I think it was) U.S.
Attorneys around the country, you’re going to get various ideas as to whether going after
organized crime is important or not. It may be that there are other types of crime, like housing
fraud and the like. And there was no strong line of control from the Department of Justice over
the U.S. Attorney. You could get the Deputy or the Attorney General to call, and I could call, but
the U.S. Attorney was a markedly independent individual. So that you could by persuasion and
argument try to get them to adopt certain plans and follow certain investigations and be a part of
the program, but if there was a facial agreement and an underlying refusal to go along, it was
very difficult to have a nationwide program So the way we tried to resolve that was by utilizing
lawyers from the Organized Crime Section who became expert in the operation of various
organized crime ideas and people and have them stationed around the country, or at least make
visits to confer with the investigative agencies in each jurisdiction to make sure that they were
following through on their commitments. That way you maintained a centralized control that led
right up to the Attorney General on the major organized crime cases around the country. We
found that to be very significant and very helpful because it pennitted a focus on organized crime
where it would otherwise be a varying focus going from one U.S. Attorney’s Office to another.
Mr. Willens: How did you and the Attorney General maintain some degree of
control over what the Organized Crime Section and other lawyers were doing out in the field’!
Mr. Miller: Well, Bob Kennedy used to meet on a regular basis with the
Organized Crime Section lawyers, find out what each was doing and what the problems were,
was legislation needed, new regulations needed? And then on other occasions he would go out
and meet in the field with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the investigative officers and the like. So
he was able to keep a very close eye on what precisely was going on in the organized crime field.
And of course bis presence both in the Department and in the U.S. Attorney’s Office out in the
field had. shall we say, an energizing effect not only on the investigative agencies but also on the
attorneys that he met with
Mr. Willens: Did you have to ask him on oc casion to intervene so as to resolve
any differences that might have existed between you and your attorneys and the U.S. Attorney’s
Mr. Miller: rm sure that that occurred. I tried to handle as many of those as I
could with varying degrees of success.
Mr. Willens: How would you assess your relationship in those days with the
United States Attorney in the Southern District?
Mr. Miller: Oh, Bob Morganthau. There’s a history involving the Southern
District that goes back long before my time. The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District
historically, and I assume it’s still going on, was backed by the federal judiciary up there with the
concept that the Southern District was going to be run as almost a separate independent
organization. That the U.-S. Attorney there would make the decisions, and he would decide what
investigations were going to go on, and any attempt to interfere could be met with displeasure
from the judiciary. Plus the fact that he had an excellent staff and excellent people. They could
get top-flight lawyers to join the U.S. Attorney’s Office. That’s always been a very fine legal
organization. I know that I would spend a fair amount of time, I won’t say every day but almost
every day, on the phone with Bob Morganthau, and that was his way of ensuring that I didn’t
come up to the Southern District. But by the same token, I was then able to get a handle on what
was going on, and if something was going wrong, I would hear about it through the investigative
agency. He was dedicated to moving on organized crime, so that one worked out fine. In other
areas we would sometimes come to an impasse, and then either Byron or Bob would have to step
Mr. Willens: .Did you come away from that experience having any reservation
about the way in which U.S. Attorneys are selected and given the broad discretionary authority to
enforce federal laws in their jurisdiction?
Mr. Miller: It is a problem In the first place, I remember Senator Eastland,
who was then the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who would never hold hearings to
confirm the nomination of a U.S. Attorney unless he received (they called it) a “blue slip” from
each of the two Senators from the jurisdiction involved, which obviously pennitted (shall we say)
a strong influence to be exerted on the selection process by those two Senators. Sometimes that
was very, very good and excellent people came up. Sometimes that was not a good influence.
And then particularly, once the U.S. Attorney was confirmed, in some instances you would find
that the U.S. Attorney allegiance leaned more to the one or two of the Senators from his own
State than to the Attorney General It still worked out quite well, and I long pondered as to
whether the independence of U.S. Attorneys isn’t something of a safeguard as distinguished from
an overall 100% control by the Attorney General and his subalterns in Washington. And I think
at this stage, because of my experience, and I have seen good U.S. Attorneys and I’ve seen bad
U.S. Attorneys. I’ve seen good Attorneys General, and maybe some not so good. And I’m not
convinced that the situation should be changed. In fact, if I were to testify today, I think I would
recommend it be continued the way it is. The problem is you get a new guy in. it takes him a
while to learn how to be a prosecutor, because many of them have no criminal experience
whatsoever, and then there always used to be (which has changed recently) almost 100%
twnover in the assistants. Now you’re getting more a career cadre around the U.S. Attorney
Offices in the country. So with that change, I think I would strongly recommend we keep the
same system we have now.
Mr. Willens: .What was the impact on attorney morale of these meetings
periodically with the Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: It had an incredibly good effect on the morale of the lawyers. In
fact, more than one lawyer would come up to me after one of the meetings and say that he’d been
a lawyer in the Department of Justice for 20, 25 years and had never once met the Attorney
General, much less participated in a meeting. It just galvanized the entire cadre of lawyers and
other people in the Department of Justice to fulfill their individual obligations as lawyers. It was
just an unbelievably wonderful place to work. Everybody was enthusiastic. Everyone was trying
to do their job, and it was because of the leadership of Robert Kennedy, pure, plain and simple.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollections of specific instances where the
Attorney General personally engaged one of the staff lawyers in a debate about the merits of a
particular investigation or proposed prosecution?
Mr. Miller: I can’t remember any specifics at the moment, but I’ve been in
meetings where the Attorney General would vigorously c ross-examine the lawyer in charge of a
proposed criminal case, vigorously interrogate another lawyer as to why certain investigative
leads bad not been carried out, review why a particular case bad ended in a verdict of acquittal,
one that looked like it was a sure conviction.
Mr. Willens: Were other Assistant Attorney Generals or officials within the
Department, like the Deputy Attorney General or the Solicitor General, invited from time to time
to participate in these meetings?
Mr. Miller: Oh. the answer is yes. Well, Ed Guthman, who was the public
information officer, wrote a book and he called it We Band of Brothers. But there was no
jealousy or jurisdictional arguments between the Assistant Attorney Generals. We w ere all part
of the same team If Burke Marshall bad a problem, everybody went to work on it. If I had a
problem, the same thing. It was really a unified effort by all of the Assistants regarding what
division they were the head of. And that again is the leadership of Robert Kennedy.
Mr. Willens: There’s been a book written recently that features considerable
detail about a case involving George Ratterman in Covington -Mr.
Miller; Newport.
Mr. Willens: Newport.
Mr. Miller: Covington- Newport.
Mr. Willens: Covington- Newport, Kentucky —
Mr. Miller: Newport – Covington yes.
Mr. Willens: — area Do you recall any particular cases like Ratterman or
Marcello that come to mind in the non-labor area that you recall as being particularly interesting
or successful?
or is that —
Mr. Miller: Were you suggesting the Ratterman case because you suggested it,
Mr. Willens: I just —
Mr. Miller: That was a civil rights case, as you well know. Because
Ratterman, a fonner quarterback of renown, was running for sheriff over .in an area where
gambling was quite heavy, and they slipped him a mickey, planted a nude prostitute and sent the
cops in to arrest him And his lawyer when called had enough sense to get an innnediate blood
test and found he was heavily overdosed with a knock-out drug. From that sprang the
investigation into a violation of his civil rights, ending in a conviction (I think) of Tito Carinsi,
who was the nightclub owner. April Rowers or April Showers testified. But it brought to the
attention of local law enforcement that, if they’re going to play games and misuse their trust, then
the federal government is going to step in. And we did.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned the Teamsters Union on a few earlier occasions.
Was it your understanding as you came into the Department that there was going to be a group of
lawyers with which Walter Sheridan was associated that would be concentrating on the
Teamsters Union?
Mr. Miller: And labor racketeering generally, yes.
Mr. Willens: But was there some reason why that was singled out from
organized crime generally?
Mr. Miller: I think it was singled out because there was no unit then existing in
the Criminal Division which bad sufficient lawyers or sufficient time to look into that particular
area. And of course Robert Kennedy was very interested in it, because he’d seen the
improprieties, if you want•to put a nice word on it, that organized crime had visited on labor
unions, controlling them, taking them over and the like, using union funds for something other
than the betterment of the union members, and indeed using improperly large amounts of money
out of the pension fund to further pals of the labor leaders rather than trying to invest the money
so it would ensure there would be sufficient funds when the workers retired. This is an area
which really haci not been focused on until the McClellan Committee start. I think one of the
reasons is because it was not popular, indeed it wasn’t a popular mission to see whether labor
unions were being operated properly and in furtherance of the purpose for which they were
Mr. Willens: Why was it not popular at the time, in your opinion?
Mr. Miller: Well, it was obviously not popular because they had a hell of a lot
of votes for one thing, and any hearings into the Teamsters Union would make (I assume) a
substantial percentage of those Teamster members quite upset.
Mr. Willens: Was there any resistance to a non-lawyer like Walter Sheridan
serving in the Division to help supervise the work of the lawyers dealing with labor racketeering?
Mr. Miller: Yes, I’m sure there was, simply because I don’t think it had ever
been done before. But on the other hand, when you stop to analyze it, if you are going to try to
locate crimes that were being committed rather than being reactive, is a lawyer better qualified to
decide what avenues to investigate than one whose whole career had been spent in investigation
and knew how to investigate, how to interrogate, and how to ascertain the facts?
Mr. Willens: What was Walter Sheridan’s relationship with the FBI?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know that. My guess is it was not very good, simply
because be was a former FBI agent. I think the FBI thought if there’s any investigation to be
done, we are the investigators and we should do it. And I think they, to a certain ex.tent, really
objected to having an investigator who was not a part of their organization deciding what should
be done.
Mr. Willens: What is your assessment in retrospect of Mr. Sheridan’s
contribution to the law enforcement effort of the early 1960s?
Mr. Miller: [n the first place, he was very knowledgeable, much more
knowledgeable than some of the existing federal investigative agencies, about the criminal
element and the areas that needed attention in law enforcement. There’s no question in my mind
that he performed admirably and made a great contribution.
Mr. Willens: What do you remember about the discussion within the
Department that took place before the Department filed its first criminal case against Mr. Hoffa?
Mr. Miller: .Let’s see, when Robert Kennedy got there, ifl recall, there was
already a pending criminal case, the so-called Sun Valley case down in Florida. Is that the name?
I’ve forgotten.
Mr. Willens: I think so.
Mr. Miller: Yes. And Dowd was in charge of it, a career guy. I th.ink that
indictment had been returned prior to the election.
Mr. Willens: What happened to that case?
Mr. Miller: Was it Sun Valley?
Mr. Willens: All I remember is that there was a case as well
Mr. Miller: Well, that was out of Detroit, tried down in Chattanooga or
Nashville. No, this Sun Valley case involved the alleged misuse of Teamster pension funds to
feather the pockets (if you feather pockets) or line the pockets of Teamster friends by the misuse
of Teamster pension funds.
Mr. Willens: What happened?
Mr. Miller: Well, I believe after Robert Kennedy got there, there was an initial
review made as to whether or not that case should be proceeded with.
Mr. Willens: Let’s go off the record.
Mr. Willens: What happened, Jack, to the Sun Valley case, as best you can
Mr. Miller: Well, I really can’t remember. I think we decided to dismiss it
because we were going to proceed with the case.
Mr. Willens: Was the case a misdemeanor case?
Mr. Miller: I guess it was at that time.
Mr. Willens: _Isn’t it a fact that the Test Fleet case had been declined previously
under the prior administration?
Mr. Miller: I believe it had in fact declined, but I think that, having conducted
further intensive investigations, we were able to demonstrate that it was a viable case. Indeed (if
my recollection does not disserve me), there was a conviction, was there not? But in any event,
we knew what was going to happen. We knew that if there was a trial, we didn’t know, we
expected that if there was a criminal trial where James Hoffa was a defendant, there would be an
attempt to reach the jury.
Mr. Willens: What was the basis for that suspicion?
Mr. Miller: The allegations proved or unproved that that may have taken place
in other Teamster cases around the country. In any event, we expected it to happen, and in fact
we were notified by (I think) the husband of a juror that he had met with a Teamster official and
an offer was made for money for his wife to vote for an acquittal.
Mr. Willens: How did the Department respond to these allegations of efforts to
tamper with the jury in view of its desire to maintain the integrity of the pending prosecution?
Mr. Miller, I think you decided that, didn’t you? I think what happened was
that there was a motion to disqualify the woman juror, which was granted, and I really don’t
remember. But’it seems to me that’s what happened. Or was it a mistrial?
Mr. Willens: No, I think your recollection is correct. Some of this information
then came from Mr. Partin, isn’t that correct?
Mr. Miller: Yes. He testified. Well, he testified at the obstruction trial.
Mr. Willens: That’s right. But he was within the defense camp during the Test
Fleet case, and was the source of some of these allegations, as I recall.
Mr. Miller: . Yes. So that we were in a position where we knew that we could
prove that the approach had been made and that Partin was the Teamster Union leader who was
present at the time this was set up. So we have the event and then we have the steps leading up
to it. This is all very vague. I can’t say that’s precisely what happened. but I think that’s pretty
much it. Because I know Hoffa was convicted of obstructing justice, i.e., trying to buy a juror.
Tue really unfortunate thing about it subsequent thereto, one of bis lawyers tried to approach the
jury in the obstruction case, as I recall. I remember we requested and obtained court approval to
put a listening device on this witness who had been approached, and it was on the basis of this
that a very fine lawyer was tried and convicted of obstructing justice. 1bis case went all the way
to the Supreme Court and was affirmed.
Mr. Willens: Looking back on those Hoffa prosecutions, what do you remember
of the Attorney General’s involvement and the Department’s focus on those cases?
Mr. Miller: Well, obviously he was interested i n what was going on. I had a
practice of sending a daily report to him of the various things going on in the Criminal Division,
and I’m sure that I would have a shon paragraph in there of what transpired during the trial.
Mr. Willens: Was that practice of submitting daily reports connnon to all the
Mr. Miller: I don’t know the answer to that.
Mr. Willens: Do you know that the Attorney General in fact read the daily
reports that came up from the Criminal Division?
Mr. Miller: I obviously can’t testify that he did, but quite often I would receive
his copy back with a notation to do this or do that or check this out or what’s the further story on
this. And knowing bis interest in the Criminal Division, it would take an extremely busy day that
he wouldn’t read what was going on.
Mr. Willens: Wasn’t it your practice more often than not to try to carry the daily
reports upstairs or otherwise to see the Attorney General at the end of the day?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I would always, sometime toward the end of the day,just try
to drop up and give him a brief resume of what was going on Also sometimes as late as 8:00
p.m I’d go up to the Deputy’s office, Byron White’s office, and sit down and go over with him
some of the problems I had. He was exceedingly helpful.
Mr. Willens: There also was a group of lawyers working on what became known
as the Pension Fund case. What is your recollection of the process by which that case was
investigated and ultimately prosecuted?
Mr. Miller: Well, in the course of our investigation, we found out very clearly
that loans were being made from the Teamster pension fund to individuals of questionable
reputation and the so-called collateral was in many cases substantially less than the loan was for.
In other words, it was a me ans of funneling money to friends of the Teamst er officials.
Sometimes I assume some of it probably went back to them But it was an egregious misuse of
the trust funds that were there to ensure the retirement pay of Teamster members.
Mr. Willens: Jack, you were recalling the development of the Pension Fund
case. Do you recall how long it took to develop that case?
Mr. Miller: It took quite a while, which again points out the importance of the
advance in one of the investigative techniques that we utilized, which I forgot to mention earlier,
and that was an aggressive use of immunity staru.tes. We found that there were many immunity
statutes attached to regulatory statutes, i.e., the Commnn.ications Act has an immunity statute,
and we used that in many occa sions to give immunity and then we could compel testimony as to
what had transpired. But it took time, but eventually we were able to demonstrate not only to the
Attorney General but also to me that there was substantial fraud being conducted on the
Teamsters pension fund. We returned an indictment in Chicago, and that case was tried, I don’t
know, it went 2, 3 months, and there was a conviction.
Mr. Willens: How did you obtain the services of the very talented prosecutors
who tried the cases against Hoffa and other major criminal figures?
Mr. Miller: Well, I think the major factor was the fact that Robert Kennedy
was the Attorney General. That fact alone was a strong impetus for talented lawyers to come to
work for the Criminal Division. The fact that he was the President’s brother was also very
helpful I think that once there they saw in him a man who worked harder than they did, was
dedicated to law enforcement, and who really wanted to make a difference and to use the
Department for the purposes for which it existed •· to have effective law enforcement, strong
civil rights, effective tax enforcement. So he was just a magnet attracting highly.talented people.
I remember one obvious example is Jim Neal who caine to work for the Crimin.al Division as a
trial attorney and participated in the Test Fleet and in the obstruction case. And as you know,
now he’s recognized to be one of the best trial lawyers in the United States. He represented
Exxon in the Valdez case up in Alaska And he’s only one example.
Mr. Willens: There’s been a lot published about the Attorney General and bis SO·
called growth during bis period at the Department of Justice. What is your assessment of the
changes in bis ability or attitude as he served for several years as Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: Well, obviously when he left the Department of Justice bis focus of
necessity had broadened. He wasn’t just concerned with law enforcement or cases brought by the
Civil Division.. He became concerned with poverty and how government operated across the
board rather than the Department of Justice. I know that many of his detractors used to criticize
him because he was such a tough Attorney General when it came to law enforcement. They
found it very hard to square their position with the fact that he used the same energy with respect
to enforcing the laws relating to civil rights. But I know there was a feeling among part of the
electorate that he was very tough and bad no heart and, of course kn.owing the man, that’s
absolutely wrong.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned earlier the fact that you were a Republican being
asked to participate in a Democratic administration. There were some political corruption cases
that fell under your jurisdiction during your years as head of the Criminal Division. Do you have
recollection of any of those political corruption cases and how you made decisions with respect
to them in light of your responsibilities to the Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: I suppose the one upon which there was the most public focus was
the Judge Keogh case up in New York. Judge Keogh was the brother of Eugene Keogh. and it
was widely assumed or known that Congressman Keogh was the main instrumentality that got
the New York delegates to vote for John F. Kennedy at the Democratic Convention. So when
allegations came in from an individual that there had been a payment with respect to one of the
cases before Judge Keogh, it was a single witness, and it was a very, very close case, but it was
investigated. I don’t think we ever found the proceeds of the bribe. We were able to find some
corroboration. It was a very, very tough case. But after reviewing it with Hundley who was
handling it, and other lawyers, I became convinced that it was one on which we had to proceed.
And I know that Robert Kennedy was personally distressed with the thought that he would be
indicting the brother of a good friend of his, but in the last analysis, I told him that we were going
to proceed, and he said okay. He said I authorize it, and we went ahead, and Judge Keogh was in
fact convicted.
that decision?
Mr. Willens: Did you ever hear of what reaction there was in the White House to
Mr. Miller: At subsequent social engagements at Hickory Hill and elsewhere,
some of the staff members of the White House were not adverse to suggesting their displeasure.
I merely said that there were decisions that had to be made, and the right decision was made, look
at the result. In fact, now that you mention it, I remember Carey and I going to a wedding
anniversary party at Hickory Hill. I’d gotten a call on the way out the door from Bill Hundley that
the judge had been convicted, and I remember arriving at the party outside around the pool, and I
shall not name the two White House aides, who subsequently became pretty good friends of
mine, but if daggers could kill, I would not be here. But that was Robert Kennedy. If the case
was there, he’d go with it.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember attending a cabinet meeting with President
Kennedy with respect to an investigation involving someone called Billy Sol Estes from Tex:as?
Mr. Miller: I would never forget it. Because I was in the Cabinet Room of the
White House with the President of the United States. And the issue there was the publicity that
had arisen about Billy Sol Estes who was a very flamboyant character. And there were issues of
bis relationship i.o Lyndon Johnson. But I explained to the President what the situation was, what
we knew and what we needed to do. This was after I’d had an evening meeting at Hickory Hill
with Bob and the then Secretary of Agriculture, where I outlined what I had seen the problems
were and what we had to do, and I thought we just really had to step in because it looked like
there’d been a major fraud that had been committed. And we stepped in; we did th e
investigation; the McClellan Committee investigated alongside of us.
Willens: . Who did?
Mr. Miller: Toe McClellan Committee. And the upshot of it was we put
together the case, and he went to trial and was convicted.
Mr. Willens: Was there an investigation started under your tenure with respect to
a colleague of President Johnson’s known as Bobby Baker?
Mr. Miller: There was indeed. I forget the genesis of that, but I think there
were Congressional hearings. But the issue came up as to whether or not Robert Baker had been
engaged in conduct that was not lawful. I remember we started an investigation and, to make a
long story short, after a thorough investigation, an indictment was returned. William Bittman,
who I had put in charge of the Chicago pension fund case when the lead prosecutor after 2 weeks
had suffered a heart seizure, I brought him down, and he tried the case against Ed Wtlliams. And
as you know Bobby Baker was convicted. There were all kinds of press reports that the case
would never go, that the case would be fixed, because by the time we were getting down to the
trial, Jack Kennedy had been assassinated and Lyndon Johnson was the President.
Mr. Willens: Do you think it was advantageous to have the bead of the Criminal
Division who was of a different political party than the Attorney General?
Mr. Miller: I think it’s a very helpful thing to the Attorney General, because
obviously there are a great number of criminal cases that have political ramifications, and if the
Attorney General and the bead of the Criminal Division are of different political persuasions,
there’s less basis to charge that there’s some kind of political favoritism when the white collar
criminal cases are either brought or not brought.
Mr. Willens: Well, the device that now has developed to deal with this problem,
as you well know, is the independent counsel technique. What is your view of that mechanism?
Mr. Miller: .I just recently panicipated in an ABA conference on the so-called
independent counsel, and Earl Silbert was the chainnan of the panel Knowing what I was going
to say, he asked me what I thought of it, and I said I thought the law was an absolute
abomination, and then would gladly have spent 2 hours explaining why but he cut me off. I think
it’s an outrage. To take the awesome power of the Attorney General of the United States and
place it in the hand of some individual selected by a panel of appellate judges is to me one of the
most incredible things that Congress has ever done. I think it’s just stupid. If you don’t trust the
Attorney General, then impeach him It’s just an outrage. And now (as you know) what has
happened is that these independent counsel requests and everything else are all generated and in
effect run by Congress. And then Congress gets a special counsel and then they call all the guys
up to testify. It’s an outrage, pure, plain and simple. If you can’t trust the administration of
justice, the Attorney General, get a new President and start over.
Mr. Willens: Do you think this was attnbutable at least in part to the experience
with the Nixon administration?
Mr. Miller: Well, there’s no question that the Nixon administration problems
caused the enactment of the statute. That would be the one case where an independent counsel
might very well be justified — where the President himself was the subject of the investigation.
But you can’t take that concept and then run it up through all of his cabinet officers and, you
know, they just tried to get it to apply to people on the Democratic NationaJ Committee, which, I
gather, which was turned down. Even assuming that — and it is looked upon as one of the major
constitutional crises in the history of our country — you can’t equate that with this current
independent counsel chasing after everybody that the Secretary of Agriculture Espy ever knew. I
mean that case is unreal. The damnedest example I’ve ever seen — they take the same transaction
involving a corporate check charged as an election campaign violation in the indictment in the
District of Columbia and it’s charged as an interstate transportation of stolen property in a case
down in New Orleans. Same check, same transaction. I mean it’s unbelievable.
Mr. Willens: Are you involved in that matter?
Mr. Miller: I am fleetingly on the outside of it. I wouldn’t have known about
this had I not been. But no professional prosecutor would do a thing like that.
Mr. Willens: Going to another subject of some personal emotional content to us
both, what do you recall about your first hearing about the assassination of President Kennedy?
Mr. Miller: We (and you were there) were meeting with Robert Kennedy, the
Attorney General, and the Organized Crime Section. I think he’d brought in Morganthau and
some other U.S. Attorney. We were meeting in his office, the Attorney General’s office, and we
broke for lunch — Bob and Morganthau and Melody Miller and others went out to Hickory Hill.
And I went to lunch. I remember just outside of the Department when I returned, one of the
lawyers from the Criminal Division ran over and told me of the assassination. I went up to Bob’s
office and Angie Novello, his secretary, was in tears. So I went back to the office and started
calling to try to find out what had happened, who was involved, and what the governmental
situation was.
Mr. Willens: Were you able to learn at that early point what was known to the
Mr. Miller: Barefoot Sanders was then the U.S. Attorney in Dallas and had
been in the Department. He was an assistant to Ramsey Clark, who was head of the Lands
Division. And I’d gotten to know him fairly well. He was the U.S. Attorney, and I talked with
him. and we had an assistant who went over to the FBI office. I can’t tell you exactly at what
stage. Then he was in a position that he was finding out what was going on and the like. Then as
soon as I found out the name of the alleged gunman we tried to find out what we could on
Oswald through our intelligence unit. And I’m sure I went and talked to Nick Katzenbach and
some of the others. Was it the next day that Ruby did the shooting? I’m trying to get my
chronology straight.
Mr. Willens: I think that happened 2 days later. I think the arrest was on a
Friday, and I think the Ruby action was on the following Sunday. Did there come a time after
that weekend when you were asked to go down to Texas?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. I’m just trying to refresh my recollection on the
chronology. I’m trying to remember. Several ofus went over to the White House. I know the
date, but what day was it?
Mr. Willens: It was a Friday, November 22.
Mr. Miller:· It was a Friday? That’s right, it was the preceding night we’d been
over to the White House for a judicial reception. I still have hanging on my wall at home the
invitation to the White House on the one date and then the invitation to the funeral. But I
remember several of us went over to the White House when the body was lying I guess it was the
East Room. I’m not sure. Whenever it was that Ruby pulled the trigger, we very quickly found
out who he was and his ties to some union in Chicago. We knew a little bit about him, not much,
and I was getting information from the assistant in the FBI office through Barefoot Sanders.
Then Nick called and told me that somebody had to get down there, so I picked up one of the
lawyers in the Criminal Division and went to the airport. They had a Lear jet and flew us down.
I remember getting on the earphones as we approached the Dallas Airport. Barefoot (I think) had
been a pilot in the war, and he was telling us that there was an absolute mob scene of reporters at
the main terminal. So there w.as a Customs slot someplace off the main part of the airport, so we
landed there and were able to get in a car and go up to Barefoot’s office. I remember Jim Loftus
of The New York Times and two or three other reporters were just sitting on the floor outside of
the office waiting for something to happen. So we went in and talked to Barefoot and decided
that one of the major things we had to do was to get the District Attorney off the television set,
because if there was ever going to be a trial of anybody, we bad to take care of the publicity. So
we went out, I have forgotten his name, and I suppose we were out at his home by 10 o’clock.
We spent a couple of hours finding out the situation, what was going on, and suggesting his
getting off the tube.
Mr. Willens: Was there federal jurisdiction at the time that you made that trip?
Did you anticipate that there was a federal case here?
Mr. Miller: No. As I recall, at the time there was no statute that prohibited the
assassination of the President, so it was under state jurisdiction. 1be killing of Oswald was a
state matter, too. As far as I knew, there was no federal jurisdiction there. But anyway we talked
and tried to figure out what the next step was, trying to figure out where Oswald crune from, what
did we know about Oswald, what was his background. I guess we went to bed that night and got
up the next morning, and continued working on it. Then I think I got a call either that day or the
next day when i was getting ready to head back. Katzenbach called and said that the Attorney
General of Texas had called for a major press conference over in Austin, the State capitol. He
had apparently cleared with somebody in Washington or in the White House that he was going to
announce the formation of the Texas Investigating Connnission, which was a procedure that they
had actually used (I think) in the Billy Sol Estes case. It had statutory authority, but it had little
in terms of regulations or anything, and I don’t think that its findings bore any weight whatsoever.
Nick and I discussed what a lousy idea it was for Lyndon Johnson’s home state to conduct an
inquiry into that assassination, but that was one of those brainless things that happen, I guess. So
I said, well what are the marching orders, and Nick said well, just go over and do what you can
do. And I said well, we cannot say that we won’t cooperate, but I’ll try to talk him out of it. So
we went over there. I remember both Barefoot and I had quit smoking. He had an old
Oldsmobile, and we were barreling along the road about 100 miles an hour, and he said I can’t
stand it, and I said neither can I. He slammed the brakes on, and we went and both bought two
packs of cigarettes. We were puffing like mad all the way trying to figure out what to do. When
we got there Carr was with several of his aides, and I tried to spell out how wrong it was to have
a Texas investigation of this matter. It could easily be misconstrued, something that Johnson had
caused, and there was going to be enough trouble with this as it was. So we argued back and
forth, and he said well, what are you going to do. I said, well 111 go out there and I’ll sit with you
at the press conference and I will say that the Department will cooperate with any investigation
initiated. But I’m not going one step beyond that and, if somebody asks me what I think, I’ll try
to finesse the question. So we go out there, and it was just an absolute mob scene. It looked like
150 radio, television, print reporters, and Carr got up and made his announcement.
Mr. Willens: Well. what was his announcement at that time?
Mr. Miller: That he was going to start a Texas board of inquiry. Then some
qu estions were asked, and one of the questions was what was the position of the White House or
the Department of Justice. I responded that we would of course be conducting our own
investigation but we would cooperate. Period. I answered no further questions. But then
Barefoot and I were sitting there, and one of the reporters asked Carr if he’d cleared this idea with
anybody in the White House, and of course both Barefoot and I became all ears. We were
curious. And he named some•names. I think one was Fortas and a couple of other names that I
forget at the moment but will recollect if I think about it. That was very much that. I went to the
airport and came back.
Mr. Willens: When did you first hear of the possibility that there would be a
Presidential Commission established to investigate the matter?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t remember that. You probably have a better
recollection of that than I do. But somewhere along the line, I think it was Katzenbach’s idea,
wasn’t it?
Mr. Willens: I don’t know.
Mr. Miller: I think it probably was. I’m sure we discussed it. I’m sure you and
I discussed it, because if he’d brought it up to me I would have talked to you about it. I thought
then it was very important that, because of the diverse makeup that the panel would probably
have, the Criminal Division should have a handle on what was happening. So I asked if you
would go over and participate, because I wanted somebody that had law enforcement and
investigative experience.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember the Deputy Attorney General asking you
whether you were available and willing to spend time with the Warren Commission?
Mr. Miller: Did he ask me? I’ve forgotten? Did he?
Mr. Willens: He told me recently that he did ask you and that you said that you
couldn’t do that consistent with your own responsibilities. But he recalls that you said you could
pe rsuade me to do that. That’s his current recollection. It may be no better than yours or mine.
Mr. Miller: No, but I couldn’t leave at that stage because Bob was devastated. I
just couldn’t leave the Criminal Division unattended. That would have been a full-time job. I
just couldn’t have done it. It just wouldn’t have been proper.
Mr. Willens: During a break in our interview, I happened to see that there were
some books sitting in this room that are some of the more than 700 volumes written about the
Warren Connnission. These books, like most of them, are critical of the Connnission, and
indeed this one’s critical about everyone involved because the thesis is that organized crime in the
person of Carlos Marcello of Louisiana was an active figure in planning the assassination of
President Kennedy. Do you have any judgment today about the findings of the Warren
Commission or the possible involvement in that assassination of organized criminal elements
that have not been heretofore documented?
Mr. Miller: Well, I have heard and there’s been a couple of books out. As a
matter of fact by chance I recently happened to pick up a television program the thesis of which
was that because Robert Kennedy had knowledge and was part and parcel of the CIA plan to use
the Mafia to do in Castro,. that the murder of his brother was retn1Jution for that conduct. And I
consider that all hogwash, I’m sorry. I see nothing to support it. In fact, an author of one of the
books who spent a long time with me, showed me all of the FBI reports that he’d gotten under the
FOlA I went through them, and I became more convinced than ever that it was not true.
Mr. Willens: What do you believe was not true?
Mr. Miller: That this assassination was the result of conduct by the Mafia
Mr. Willens: Do you know whether Attorney General Kennedy knew of the
assassination efforts directed at Castro in the late 1950s and the early 1960s?
Mr. Miller: From everything that I’ve been able to read, the answer is he did
not. I mean there are a couple of authors who have called me over the years that are running
around trying to put that story together, but I wouldn’t believe it. Because I know Bob Kenned.y.
Mr. Willens: .Is it your assessment of him that he would not have authorized —
Mr. Miller: He would not have authorized it. And as far as I’m concerned, if he
had participated to that extent, believe me, there would be some kind of a written record that
would have surfaced a long time ago.
Mr. Willens: Those who claim be had knowledge of the Castro assassination
attempts tend to identify Castro or people acting in bis direction as behind the assassination.
That is something different from organized crime, is it not?
Mr. Miller: Well, some people say Castro, some people say the Mob. You
know you got this Mob lawyer a year or so ago quoting one of the Mafia leaders, now that we
know there’s a Mafia, that he had arranged it, and Giancanna was supposed to be involved. Bu t
I’ve seen nothing to demonstrate that except surmise.
Mr . Willens: What was the impact of the assassination on the Department of
Mr. Miller: It was devastating, because it not only lost the President, but you
know Bob was very severely affected at the loss of bis brother. It was a very trying time.
Mr. Willens: There’s some suggestion in the literature that the FBI decided
immediately upon the assassination that they would not deal with the Attorney General as they
had previously aD.d that they would reassess their own priorities with respect to organized crime.
Do you have any information one way or the other about that particular allegation?
Mr. Miller: Any decision like that would not have been broadcast or published.
I do know that the relationship between the Attorney General’s office and the FBI changed. In
fact, the man that represented the FBI in dealing with Robert Kennedy, shortly after the
assassination, well it was a while, no longer had that function.
Mr. Willens: .Who was that?
Mr. Miller: Courtney Evans. He stayed until retirement age and then left the
Department to open a law office with an aspiring young lawyer by the name of Herbert J. Miller,
Jr. and the law firm of Miller and Evans.
Mr. Willens: Did you decide to stay with the Department of Justice until
Attorney General Kennedy resigned in 1964?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I would not have left before him
Mr. Willens: What prompted your departure in early 1965?
Mr. Miller: I bad been there 4 years. I felt it was time to move on. That was
not a career position, as you well know. I guess my primary re ason for going there in the first
place was because of Robert Kennedy. I felt it would be better if who was going to be the
Attorney General would appoint my successor to work with him
Mr. Willens: Had you given consideration to doing anything other than returning
to private practice in Washington?
Mr. Miller: I was offered a judgeship or offered to have my name put on a list
to go to the White House, which I gather did happen. There were three people on the list, and the
other two were appointed to the Court of Appeals. I was offered a District Court judgeship but
decided that I’d always wanted to see if I could survive on my own, so that’s when Courtney and I
opened a law office.
Mr. Willens: Did that happen then during 1964 before you left the Department?
Mr. Miller: Oh. yes, that was before I left the Department.
Mr. Willens: So it was —
Mr. Miller: Ramsey Clark was very close to the White House. And I think it
was he who was instrumental •in getting my name on the judicial appointment list.
Mr. Willens: But when it came down to it, you decided you’d rather reenter
private practice than take a position on the District Court bench
Mr. Miller: Yes. I really had missed the private practice. You know, running
the Criminal Division is an incredibly important, exciting job, a chance to really do something
worthwhile. But I really missed the practice. As you can see, at my advanced age I’m still
practicing full-time, and I really enjoy it.
Mr. Willens: But did you not consider the job of running the Criminal Division a
traditional legal position?
Mr. Miller: It is a traditional legal position, but it’s more an executive slot than
it is the practice of law. You know, you prepare to go up on the Hill and testify, and you’re an
advocate for Department legislation, and you review the important cases to see whether the facts
and the law support return of an indictment. But a lot of other times it’s personnel matters and
investigative decisions, that kind of thing.
Mr. Willens: Did you take advantage of any opportunity to appear in court
yourself while you were at the Department?
Mr. Miller: No. I felt my job was to run the Division and not become an
appellate advocate. I had fortunately already argued a case before the Supreme Cow-t. Well, I
take that back. I remember Archie Cox requested that I appear in an in-chambers hearing before
one Justice of the Supreme Court on a bail application out in the Ninth Circuit. But I did that at
the request of Archie.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any other recollections of your Department of Justice
experience that come to mind as being particularly important or humorous or revealing?
:rvir. Miller: At the end of the day? No.
Mr. Willens: All right. Let’s take a break for a moment.
• Interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr.
December 11, 1996
Mr. Willens: This is Howard Willens speaking on December 11, 1996. This is
the fourth session of the interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr. as part of the Oral History Project of
the District of Columbia Circuit Historical Project. Jack, at the conclusion of our last session, we
were discussing your departure from the Department of Justice and your return to practice in
early 1965. With respect to your return to private practice, you mentioned forming the firm of
Miller and Evans. Is that correct?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: When did you organize the current firm of which you have been
the senior partner for some 30 plus years?
Mr. Miller: There was no organization as such. It evolved out of Miller and
Evans. Courtney, as I said, retired from the FBI and subleased space from some trade association
over in the Ring Building. Finally I was able to convince the people at the Department that I
should be permitted to leave, and I left. That was the firm John Cassidy wanted very much to
join us, but the fee income was rather sparse, to say the least, so it was decided that the longer he
stayed at a place where he’d have a regular salary, the better off we’d be.
Mr. Willens: Where was he at that time?
Mr. Miller: He was at the Department of Justice in the Criminal Division. He
came out I think in August or September of that year. Cowtney and I sent out an announcement
April 25, 1965, and as I say, Joh n joined us. Originally the firm was Miller and Evans. Then
subsequently, Nick Katzenbach wanted Courtney to come back as a Special Assistant. Nick was
Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General. In any event, Courtney went back to the
Department, and at that time we thought it best ifhe took bis name off the door. Then a very
respected trial attorney, Joe McCarthy, contacted me, and eventually the firm became Miller and
McCarthy, Evans and Cassidy. Then Joe decided that he was going to practice in Rockville. We
finally convinced Ray Larroca, who was practicing over at my old firm, Kirkland, Fleming,
Green, Martin and Ellis, to join us. Then Nat Lewin, who was the first Supreme Court law clerk
that was ever inveigled into working for the Criminal Division. After he left the Criminal
Division to go to the Solicitor General’s office, he went to the State Department and then became
I think the nwnber three lawyer or so in the Civil Rights Division. Then he came to us. Then as
I say, Courtney dropped his name out, although he remained of counsel, so by then it became
Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, which is the cWTent name after 32 years next April
Mr. Willens: In those first few years, what kind of clientele did you have?
Mr. Miller: Very little, if the truth be known.
Mr. Willens: Were any of the clients that you had in private practice before you
went into the Department available as clients?
Mr. Miller: None that I can think of offhand. The first client we had was Bill
France, who had established NASCAR and had built the Daytona Racetrack, primarily on credit I
might add. He did not have much in the way of financing, but he had a letter of credit and be
borrowed $5,000 and gave us a retainer. That was our first retainer client.
Mr. Willens: What kind of work did you do for him?
Mr. Miller: Various issues that would come up concerning the operation of
NASCAR or the rnnning of the major racetrack down at Daytona I know shortly after it opened
up, a friend of mine, Judge Ryan, who was a domestics rel ations judge, used to send us noncontested
divorce cases. He would assign us to represent the defendant for, I don’t know, $150 a
pop, and we were very pleased to have the income. It was very sparse. We represented an
organization called Perrna Tex in a matter. And then we were hired to represent two farmers in
Belle Glade, Florida, concerning operations under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of
1937 and had an extremely successful result. People started to come to the door. It’s hard to say
where business came from I can tell you that in the first year of operations we had a profit of
$15,000. I’d taken out my retirement money from the Department of Justice and sold a lot next
to us in Potomac, so I took $3,000, and Courtney took $6,000, and John took $6,000, John
Cassidy. It got a little better after that.
Mr. Willens: I hope so. Did any of the other individuals such as Mr. Evans, Mr.
Cassidy or Mr. Larroca bring clients to the firm?
Mr. Miller: Ray brought a client to the firm or two. Cassidy began to bring in
some clients. I can’t remember other than the ones I’ve mentioned.
Mr. Willens: Did you anticipate when you left the Department that there would
be interest in yow services because of yow experience in the Criminal Division?
Mr. Miller: I really did not, I guess primarily because I bad not really sat down
and analyzed what the market, if you want to call it that, would be for someone with an
established background in criminal law. But once I got out, I began to realize fairly quickly that
the larger law firms, while they may have tried to handle criminal cases involving tax or antitrust,
anything beyond that they would pass off to criminal law practitioners. Consequently, a
substantial pan of our business then and even now, to a certain extent, comes from major law
firms, although now the major law firms all have established a white collar criminal section so
they do the work in-house. But when we started, that was not the case, and in many major
criminal cases around the country, our name would come to the fore. We would represent clients
around the country in various jurisdictions — a lot of time in Los Angeles and some in New York
and Florida As I say, around the country.
Mr. Willens: Did you have the sense when you established the firm that it was
going to be the base for a national practice as it bas developed, or did you trunk you were going
to be more like one of the local firms that you had come into contact with in the 1950s7
Mr. Miller: I had assumed it would be a Jocal general practice firm I mean,
that was my assumption. I had never contemplated that we would end up as a firm with expertise
in the white collar crime area. But that’s the way the practice developed, and since then the furn
bas always been primarily (if not solely) a litigation firm Now I guess our practice bas been for
years, 60-40 criminal-civil but it may be reversed the next day. But it’s all litigation. We don’t
engage in giving regular corporate advice or the like. We do on occasion, but that isn’t what we
hold ourselves out for. We do litigation, civil and criminal, and that’s it.
Mr. Willens: Have most of the lawyers with the firm after being here for several
years tried cases before juries’!
Mr. Miller: Oh. yes. We have substantial expertise on that.
Mr. Willens: If you had to pinpoint one or two important developments in the
growth of your law firm in the late 1960s or early 1970s that mi ght explain the development of
the firm, what would your recollections be?
Mr. Miller: – Off the record. I guess one of the first major criminal cases that
came in was representing an individual by the name of Ray Ryan, who was an oil man originally
out of Indiana. He had been an important witness for the Department of Justice in an organized
crime case in which he testified to an extortion attempt by Mafiosos, which resulted in the
conviction of a very important Mafia individual.. Surprisingly, after that he became the subject of
an IRS investigation which was very substantial and we started to represent him. To make a long
story short, he was indicted four times, and we beat the case four times. One case, the third case,
went to trial, and be was convicted. We appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit
ordered the entry of a verdict of acquittal Then I guess as a last gasp, he was indicted here in
Washington for not properly reporting overseas assets. Allegedly he bad owned the Mt. Kenya
Safari Club with HoWen, the actor.
Mr. Willens: What was the name of the club?
Mr. Miller: Mt. Kenya Safari Club. It was over in Kenya That case was
thrown out by a local district court judge here on the basis that was going to cause a disbandment
of the whole agency, so that case innnediately went away.
Mr. Willens: I don’t understand that.
Mr. Miller; Well, the basis for the decision was that it was unconstitutional to
require the information that they were supposed to gather on foreign assets. So once the judge
had dismissed the indictment, rather than re-indicting they decided that they would drop the case
totally, so the constitutionality of the ruling would not impact the continued existence of their
agency. But that Ryan case was major litigation. It was a series of motions, letters,
interrogatories that went on for years, involving Swiss bank accounts and the like. We had the
trial and the reversal. Then subsequently he was tried for criminal contempt of court , we tried
the case, and the judge entered a direct verdict of acquittal at the close of the government’s case.
Mr. Willens: That sounds like a very sat isfied client.
Mr. Miller: We did stop the enforcement of the subpoena which would have
required that be produce documents from Kenya. We were ordered to produce, and we appealed,
the Ninth Circuit agreed that he did not have to sue overseas to produ ce those documents. The
government appealed the case and the Supreme Court, I’m sorry to report, reversed the case 9-
zip. One of my five arguments in the Supreme Court. Some of the others went a little better than
Mr. Willens: How long was it after you began the firm before you had some
sense that finances were such that you were on firm footing and you were looking forward to
continued success?
Mr. Miller: I’m not sure I even have reached that conclusion yet, Mr. Willens.
Let’s put it this way: I began to be able to sleep at night maybe after the third, fourth or fifth year.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any trouble hiring young lawyers in those days to
come with a firm with your particular interests?
Mr. Miller: We had no trouble hiring any young lawyers because we hired
none. Then finally we decided that we’d hire somebody and we were very fortunate. We had no
trouble in hiring a Supreme Court law clerk by the name of Martin Minsker, who came to the
finn I think he was enamored with the idea of a smaller firm. and I’m happy to say he was a
brilliant lawyer and is still with us. The next one we hired was William Jeffress, who was
courted by Covington and Burling and other major firms after he clerked on the Supreme Court
and also clerked for Judge Gesell He decided that he would come with the firm, and I’m happy
to report that he is still with us and one of the outstanding trial lawyers in the United States.
Mr. Willens: I remember that your first year in practice was interrupted to some
extent by your appointment as Chairman of the President’s Commission on Crime in the District
of Columbia. Do you have any recollection of how it came to be that you were appointed by
President Johnson to be Chairman of that Commission?
Mr. Miller: You know, I really don’t, although I was told su bsequently by one
of the members of the Commission that President Johnson wanted to appoint her but he was
afraid the Commission would come to nothing; and he preferred to have a Republican as its head
and that’s where I came in, I assume because of my prior service as Assistant Attorney General of
the Criminal Division.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection as to why President Johnson decided
that there should be such a Commission for the District of Columbia since at the same time, as
you recall, there was a national Crime Commission also appointed?
Mr. Miller: I assume that the same circumstances that caused the creation of
the National Commission caused the creation of the District of Columbia Commission. I think
there was a concern that crime was increasing, and I think there was a concern about whether the
police were asking improperly in terms of dealing with minorities. I can’t remember any
specifics, but since you were the man that ran the Commission, that did all the work and
produced the report, maybe you can tell me why it started.
Mr. Willens: Well, I do remember hearing a story that President Johnson called
up then-Acting Attorney General Katzenbach after the 1964 election and complained that the
“crime in the streets” issue bad damaged his election effort. As I recall, he only lost one state to
Mr. Goldwater. So as the story goes (and I don’t know who my source for this is — maybe you),
the President told the Acting Attorney General that he wanted a federal program against crime on
his desk in 2 weeks. Mr. Katzenbach then called several people together includm.g me and Mr.
Scblei possibly and said that he, Mr. Katzenbach, wanted a program directed against federal
crime on his desk in 10 days. And we in turn went back to our colleagues and said we wanted to
put together a program in 7 days. The upshot was something called the Law Enforcement
Assistance Act of 1965 and the two Presidential Commissions. Does any of that refresh your
Mr. Miller: That does refresh my recollection. I was not a party to some of the
conversations, but now that you’ve reminded me, I am reminded that I was told of these events.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection of the issues that were regarded as
being so critical with respect to crime in Washington some 30 years ago?
Mr. Miller: To the best of my recollection, there was really a duality of issues.
One was the problem of law enforcement treatment of blacks. The other was the perception that
criminals were coddled, one of the reasons being that there was a substantial delay from the time
of the arrest to the time of any ultimate incarceration in the event of a conviction. Tb.ere was a
roaring issue whether the Court of Appeals or the trial courts were soft on criminals, the contrary
argument being that they were certainly entitled to their constitutional rights when they went to
trial. That’s a simplification, but that’s as I remember it. You were the Executive Director of the
Crime Connnission and helped produce an incredibly good report which for the first time
outlined what law enforcement was in the District of Columbia People didn’t realize that you go
• 121 ·
from the investigative stage to the trial, then the sentencing and then probation or jail. And if the
criminal goes to jail, do you just turn out hardened criminals or do you have adequate programs
in the prison to make sure that the recidivism rate does not increase and instead goes down.
Then you have the review by the Appellate Courts and indeed the Supreme Court on occasion.
So that you have all of these diverse interests — the Probation Department, the Corrections
Department, the police and the prosecutor, and in the middle you have the independent judiciary.
For the first time I think it was outlined in the report how those did or did not interrelate, in terms
of having effective and speedy law enforcement.
Mr. Willens: Did you personally have any role in selecting the other members of
the Commission?
Mr. Miller: I do not believe that I did. I have no recollection of it.
Mr. Willens: Do you know who did identify the members of the Connnission?
Mr. Miller: If I were guessing I would think that Charlie Horsky certainly
played a substantial part in deciding who would be on the Commission.
Mr. Willens: As you and I have discussed off the record, you were on the
Connnission with eight other members. These included Judge Pine, Don Bittinger, Bill Rogers,
Abe Krasb, Pat Wald, Fred Ballard, Marjorie Lawson and Clyde Ferguson. Do you have any
recollection with respect to Judge Pine as to what he brought to the work of the Connnission and
what his perspective was?
Mr. Miller: Well, what be brought to the perspective was where the District
Court fit into the so-called law enforcement process, and what were the problems with delay in
the District Court or delay in the Court of Appeals. The Probation Department of course was an
arm of the court. So he was able to bring forth the so•called independent pan of the law
enforcement process, ie., the courts.
Mr. Willens: Was there generally a consensus within the Connnission that more
expeditious processing of cases was a desired objective?
Mr. Miller: Oh. I think there was no dissent to the basic premise that speedy
law enforcement, assuming it was just, was desired and necessary for the protection of society, if
you will
Mr. Willens: As I recall, Mr. Bittinger was President of the Washington Gas
Mr. Miller: llight.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any recollection as to what he brought to the work of
the Commission as a leading businessman?
Mr. Miller: Well, he looked upon it (I think) probably more as a citizen,
because he had no direct contact with any of the elements of law enforcement. What he was
concerned with was the long delay and the consensus then that the Court of Appeals was turning
loose too many criminals in our society.
Mr. Willens: As I remember, one of the handful of issues on which the
Commission divided related to the so.called insanity defense. My recollection is that there was
some considerable debate in the community at that time as to what the appropriate formulation of
an insanity defense was. Is that one of the issues you’re referring to?
Mr. Miller: That is one of them That issue, of course, involved the so•called
Durham Rule that was announced by the Court of Appeals. A substantial pan of the connnunity
felt very strongly that that was an improper test. That was one of the issues that generally
divided those who felt law enforcement should be (shall we say) stricter, as distinguished from
those who felt that all of the rights of the defendant had to be carefully observed. That certainly
was one of the issues. And I might add to that how long ago was the Durham Rule revised?
Mr. Willens: I don’t remember.
Mr. Miller: Oh. I know. It definitely bas been substantially changed, but that
was years and years ago.
Mr. Willens: Another member was Bill Rogers, who was a former Attorney
General of the United States under the Eisenhower administration and was also a member of the
National Crime Commission. Do you have any recollection of what Mr. Rogers brought to the
work of the Commission?
Mr. Miller: Bill Rogers spent his time primarily with the National
Commission, which is understandable. I don’t recall him attending more than one or two
meetings of our DC Commission.
Mr. Wi llens: What is your recollection of Mr. Krash’s participation in the work
of the Commission?
Mr. Miller: Mr. Krash was an outstanding lawyer with Arnold and Porter. I
think his position was what would be today termed more of a liberal concern that the law
enforcement process was not adequately protecting the rights of the defendant. That’s stating it a
little too broadly, perhaps, but I know on the various issues you would have Mr. Bittinger and
Judge Pine on the one side, and you would have Abe Krash and sometimes Pat Wald on the
other. I mean those two together. So the Connnission to a certain extent reflected the so-called
split in ideas within the community itself.
Mr. Willens: Just let me mention a few additional names. What is your
recollection of Fred Ballard?
Mr. Miller: Fred Ballard was a very dlStinguished lawyer. My recollection of
Fred is that he was very thoughtful and carefully reviewed each lSsue to arrive at what his
position was and what he thought the Crime Commission position should be.
Mr. Willens: How about Marjorie Lawson?
Mr. Miller: Judge Lawson was a fonner Juvenile Court Judge, as I recall I
know that she had a concern that the police department on occasion was mist reating blacks. But
I think her views were fairly what I would call middle of the road.
Mr. Willens: How about Clyde Ferguson?
Mr. Miller: I’m embarrassed to say I really don’t recall the positions that he
took in the discussion. You have to remember there were a broad number of issues, and there
was no set position by any member of the Commission really.
Mr. Willens: Looking back on the experience which (as I recall) lasted for about
16 or 17 months, what is your assessment of what the Commission accomplished?
Mr. Miller: What the Commission accomplished was I think for really the first
time to demonstrate what law enforcement consists of, how the various parts of law enforcement
could be improved and made more efficient, and how law enforcement as a whole (with the
independent judiciary in the center) could improve to the point that it would be effective in
controlling crime, by speedily prosecuting those crimes that were committed and in the last
analysis turning back into society people who had been trained in a trade or brought up their scale
of education rather than just being warehoused in a prison someplace and turned out with no skill
with which to earn an honest living.
Mr. Willens: Did you personally play any role in trying to get the
recommendations of the Commission implemented?
Mr. Miller: Yes. After the report was submitted to President Johnson, I sensed
that there was no organized effort, if you will, to try to put into effect those recommendations of
the Commission that I thought should be examined and implemented. So I gave a talk to the
judicial conference, which was held at a local hotel, and exhorted the bar to get behind the report
and start seeing that these things were implemented. Then I spent time around the City talking to
various groups trying to energize the citizens to see to it that the various recommendations were
enforced. I believe I testified in Congress, but I can’t recall.
Mr. Willens: Do you recall much opposition to the Commission’s
recommendations from the agencies that were most directly involved, such as the Police
Department, the Department of Corrections, or the courts?
Mr. Miller: Maybe l’mjust closing my mind, but I really do not. I can
remember the concern of the courts that they were going to be unjustly criticized for their delay
when it was going on. I know that the Police Chief was concerned at the time with what we were
going to come up with. Naturally they wou1d be concerned about any criticism about the Police
Department. But afterwards my recollection is that a substantial part of those recommendations
were adopted by the Police Department. I don’t believe there was much success in tenns of the
Department of Corrections, one of the reasons being that as I recall some of the unions in town
were strongly opposed to having in effect trade schools within the prisons that would tum out
individuals who would be qualified to work. One example I remember involved sheet metal
workers, where it was very difficult to get qualified black members. But as I say. that’s a long
time ago.
Mr. Willens: Well, it is ahnost 30 years to the day that the report was issued.
Crime in the District of Columbia is, if anything, much more severe than it was then.
Mr. Miller: No question about it.
Mr. Willens: It also seems different in many respects, most particularly the drug
problem that the city and other urban areas experience today. What is your sense about the
changes that have come about with respect to the nature of criminal activity in a city such as
Mr. Miller: Well, it’s not only Washington, but across the country. When we
were looking at the situation, there was not the broken homes, and the juvenile and young adult
crime that seems to be driving the st atistics today. You can only look back and think that it’s the
breakdown of the family and the lack of guidance and love for youngsters that lets them go out
on the street at the age of 15 and 16 and conmrit acts of violenc e and murder. If you look at the
percentage of crime that is committed by individuals under 21, it is of course substantial. Added
to that is the much more widespread utilization of narcotics than was ever the case when you and
I were looking at the problem Those two things seem to me to stand out as to what the problem
is. Mandatory minimum sentences are supposed to solve the narcotic problem Obviously they
haven’t. I don’t know that they’ve even had any substantial inroad. I think the only thing that’s
going to change that is education , which inculcates a desire in the individual not even to try
narcotics, not even to get into the utilization of narcotics. How you accomplish that — I have no
idea. The other thing is where you have homes with one parent or foster homes, how do you try
to raise children with the concept that they should abide by the law, that they should not steal,
they should not get involved in acts of violence? Obviously you think of the school. If they can
do it, they’re not doing it. Can you enforce a home life on individuals? I guess the answer is you
can’t do that. I don’t know what the answer is. It’s a very, very discouraging picture. I can only
hope that the sense of responsibility will be reinstilled into citizens, particularly when they’re
thinking of having children, that will somehow require them, cause them, to see to it that they
continue to raise their children until they’re young adults and try to drive home the concept that a
life of crime is hardly the way to exist in today’s life.
Mr. Willens: Let us just talk briefly about the changes in your law practice and
Washington practice generally over the past 25 or 30 years. I know from our previous
discussions that your firm bas grown slowly but steadily over the years. Did you and your
partners have any particular plan when you set out as to how large the firm should be or that you
wanted it to be?
Mr. Miller: I bad very definite ideas. I had been in a large firm and did not
want to be a part of that social strata, if you want to call it that, again. I assumed when I started
the firm that the maximum size would be maybe 10 or 12 lawyers. I am now somewhat surprised
as I look around and see we have maybe 36 or 37 lawyers. Tuey are very careful here to make
sure I don’t know the exact number.
Mr. Willens: Do you personally play an active role in the management of the
Mr. Miller: Yes. I have been. For years we had no partnership agreement. I
didn’t think it was necessary . .J think normally on any major decision affecting the furn I would
participate in making it Several years ago it was decided we should have a partnership
agreement, and that set up a Management Committee, and whether through intimidation or
adoration, I’ve been Chairman of the Management Committee ever since it was formed and still
Mr. Willens: Why were you reluctant to see the furn.exceed 10 or 15 lawyers?
Mr. Miller: It’s a manner of collegiality. I like to know, and I like the other
lawyers in the furn to know, what the various cases were, to participate in the cases with giving
advice and the like, and it was just an easier way to practice law. You had less concern about
interiering with somebody else’s practice or losing e good client because there might be a
potential conflict. As it bas turned out, I’m happy to say that, as large as the furn is, the
collegiality factor is still a very important one to everybody here. I think the reason that we are
able to attract young lawyers who have a substantial future is because they like the way the
practice here is run. One of the other reasons I wanted to stay small is because I did not want to
have to undertake cases where there would be three or four partners in charge and five or six
associates, and the associate would come in and work for 3 or 4 years on one case involving
substantial documents and the like. We are (thank God) too small to undertake such cases, and
consequently we have avoided that form of work which has turned out to be a real drudgery part
of the practice of law.
Mr. Willens: Has the firm deliberately turned down some representation because
it would involve more resources than you wanted to allocate to a panicular case?
Mr. Miller: Yes, on more than one occasion, perhaps foolishly on my part. In
fact, at one stage, at more than one stage, when we detennined that we were full up and that there
was too much of a load on the various lawyers, we would embargo new business, something that
I suppose is a foolish thing for a firm to do. But in order to keep the workload within bounds, on
occasion we have felt that was necessary.
Mr. Willens: In any firm. there’s a tension created by the desire of the younger
lawyers to want to grow in responsibility and to some extent that means to them that there have
to be newer lawyers hired that are junior to them within the law firm. How can you control
growth and at the same time accommodate those aspirations of the younger lawyers?
Mr. Miller: Well, first of all the lawyers we hire all have clerked in the District
Court, Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. So when they come to the furn. they are better
trained than somebody who has just gotten out of law school. That bas been necessary because
we staff cases very thinly compared to other firms. The reason why the practice here has been
attractive to the younger lawyers is because they are not standing behind five or six other
lawyers. When they get here many times they are the number two lawyer on the case. They get
to participate in discovery procedure, they get to argue motions, they get to go to trial much
quicker in this firm than they would in many of the larger firms. That (a) makes for better
lawyers and (b) makes for lawyers that like to practice. They really enjoy it.
Mr. Willens: Some of the articles about your firm descnbe it as a boutique law
firm Is that a description that you think is accurate?
is it, yes.
Mr. Miller: Well, I’m not sure I know what a boutique is, but if small and good
Mr. Willens: How would you say that the practice that the finn bas changed over
the past 25 or so years?
Mr. Miller: I’m not sure that it has changed. I suppose it has changed to this
extent. We now represent some of the larger corporations in the country on occasion. But that
really is the only change. The mix of civil versus criminal as I say varies from day to day, but it
remains pretty much 50-50 depending upon what you’re talking about, which day you’re talking
about. I really don’t think the practice has changed that much
Mr. Willens: Is there any drift toward specialization among the partners in the
Mr. Miller: No. If we get a federal election campaign case in, yes, we
specialize in that. We learn what the statute is and why.
Mr. Willens: You were referring to the kinds of specialized cases that you do
take, but my question goes to whether the partners, in your ju dgment, are more or less all
fungible in terms of their background, their capabilities, so that as a new matter comes in, ahnost
any partner who is available could undertake it.
Mr. Miller: Oh, I see what you mean. When the case initially comes in, the
answer is yes. Partners are pretty much fungible. Over the years some partners have had much
more trial experience than others. One example that comes to mind immediately is Bill Jeffress,
who I consider Probably the finest trial lawyer in the United States, whether it be civil or
criminal. He’s tried cases all over. There are others, Stan Mortenson and other lawyers in the
finn who have had substantial trial experience. The younger partners coming up haven’t. So to
that extent they’re not as fungible. But by participating with those that have the practice, they
soon attain the skills and are off on their own. But in terms of what kind of a case to handle or
the like. not really. Litigation comes in, it’s a case that involves statutes. it involves facts, the
lawyers here have a phenomenal capability to analyze facts, how to obtain the facts, and they’re
very good at analyzing the statutes, and they’re very creative in their approach. It sounds very
simple, but —
Mr. Willens: It does sound simple, but it also sounds very different from the
approach that many other firms, especially larger firms, are taking, where there seems to be an
increased tendency to encourage specialization among the younger lawyers. What do you think it
is that accounts for this difference in philosophy?
Mr. Miller: Well, in the big firms, of course, they will develop an expertise in
environmental law, for example, and there are many regulations and statutes on the civil side,
and of course there’s the criminal side. When the criminal side comes into play in. an
environmental case, we will be approached. We have found that, spe cialization or not, it is not
all that difficult when you have a specific factual issue to ascertain what regulations, what
statutes apply, and how they’re enforce.d and how they should be enforced. That’s much different
than requiring a specialized knowledge that requires you to answer questions on a daily basis as
to whether a client should do this or do that in general to comply with a broad scope of
regulations. That’s the joy of litigation. By the time the case gets to you, it is to a certain extent
focused on a particular set of facts and a particular set of laws and regulations, so that that
expertise historically as far as we’re concerned is not necessary.
Mr. Willens: Well, you began practice with the Kirkland Ellis firm which had a
reputation of having a vezy high-quality con:m:mnications practice, although you in fact didn’t
specialize in that area
Mr. Miller: .I tried not to.
Mr. Willens: Is the practice that you now have with this firm Washingtonoriented
to any extent, as would be a communications practice, or do you think that this firm
could have survived and prospered as well as it has if it were situated in Chicago, Boston or
some other city?
Mr. Miller: That’s an interesting question. I suppose to a certain extent the
clients have been referred here by other films that kn.ow that we are capable of presenting an
intelligent conference at the Department of Justice, for example. I think the firm has a reputation
for integrity, and a reputation for doing excellent lawyering. So that (I like to believe, and 1 th.ink
is true ) when we go to a government agency in order to make a presentation, they will listen
carefully to what we have to say simply because we don’t go and present arguments that are
ridiculous. We’ve had the experience. We know when a case is good, and we know when a case
is bad. And we know how to emphasize why a particular case should not be brought or why a
particular case should be settled with a plea instead of going to trial. And all that is experience,
and that in some respects could apply anywhere in the United States.
Mr. Willens: Have lawyers in this firm other than the name partners had any
substantial experience in one government agency or another?
Mr. Miller: Well, yes. Jamie Gorelick spent a year or two as a special assistant
at the Department of Energy. Of course, she’s now at the Department of Justice as Deputy
Attorney General Two of the lawyers here went to the Department of Justice , and have returned.
Mr. Willens: They have returned.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I don’t know what happened to the others — I have no idea.
Mr. Willens: _Do you think it’s desirable for the firm to have its lawyers go into
the public service for 2 to 4 years and then return to the firm?
Mr. Miller: Every time a lawyer has come to me and discussed leaving the firm
to go with the government, I tell them that it’s unfair for them to ask me that question for the
simple reason that I did. And if that’s the case, how could I suggest to them that such conduct
would be inappropriate. No, I encourage it, even if it means losing a fine lawyer, because I think
if an individual wants to participate in the public arena, I think that’s the way it ought to be. In
fact, we just had a recent situation where one of the lawyers was asked to asswne an exceedingly
important job, and after I reconnnended that he consider it, he decided that he preferred to stay
here. So it’s up to each lawyer when a request comes.
Mr. Willens: Is there a specific philosophy of compensation that you’ve followed
here at the firm with respect to both rewarding and encouraging your colleagues?
Mr. Miller, We have a system of compensation that nobody believes. I
realized this very early in the practice. Having watched other law firms engage in violent and
vituperative arguments about who was entitled to how much money and who brought in what,
and firms breaking up, we decided some years ago that for every partner in the firm at the end of
the year there would be statistics passed around that would show how much the lawyer had
earned with his Own body, what business had been brought in, what significant cases had been
accomplished. Then there would be a secret vote. Every partner would have one vote, and it
would be an equal vote, so that the newest-made partner would have the same vote that I had as
the partner who started the finn. And every year since, we have bad an annual vote as to what
the compensation of each partner should be. It is an amazing, rewarding thing that, with a few
anomalies every so often over the years, in a great majority of the cases. the vote appropriately
rewards each lawyer for his contribution to the firm. And there is no, nor can there be, any real
anger because it’s the decision of the partnership as a whole as to what everybody gets.
Mr. Willens: So as I understand it, the vote of each partner identifies the
percentage or the level of compensation of that partner and each other partner.
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes.
Mr. Willens: And then these go into some kind of a mechanism where some
person looks at the views and then acconmodates the differences.
Mr. Miller: Oh, no, not at an. What happens is the vote is confidential, and
then the vote is put in a sealed envelope and sent over to a certified public accountant. And be
takes the vote and he adds up the whole thing. who got what, and then he puts it an on a chart,
and then figures out what percentage each partner gets based on that vote. We found anomalies
on occasion, so we decided the smart thing to do was take out the highest vote and the lowest
vote for each partner. All the balances are included in, and then the Management Committee has
the power to change, modify to the extent it so desires, the amount of compensation any partner
gets. I think that’s only happened once or twice, and it’s been very minor. So as it turns out, if
anybody wants to complain that they haven’t been adequately compensated, they can go and
argue with every one of the partners in the firm. They can’t come to the senior partners and say
you’re talcing all the money improperly, as happens in some other finns, and that’s the way the
vote goes.
Mr. Willens: I gather that under that system, each partner then can assign what
importance that partner wishes with respect to factors such as number of hours worked, bringing
business in, public activities, business development and other considerations. Other firms
sometimes expressly use such factors with respect to each candidate for compensation.
Mr. Miller: Each lawyer has those facts, and then it’s up to him to decide what
he thinks he’s worth and what every partner is worth. And that’s what the vote is. And as I say,
it’s tabulated totally in confidence, and the results are sent back to the firm and given to the
Management Committee. We distribute them and say if anybody’s got a complaint, go ahead and
give it to us. It has very effectively minimized Wlhappiness ( or at least expressed unhappiness
shall we say) with the compensation of the various partners.
Mr. Willens: I’ve been given a copy of an article which cmne out of one of the
legal rags with your distinguished picture on the front page. The heading is “Miller Cassidy at
the Crossroads”, and under your picture it says ”Name Partner Herbert Miller: ‘Don’t label me a
Mr. Miller: I do not consider myself a manager.
Mr. Willens: I don’t see a date on this article, although I’m sure it’s somewhere
right up on the top, but the one interesting thing is that they emphasize the diversity of your
clientele. They have pictures of former Attorney General Meese, actress Jody Foster, former
President Richard Nixon, lobbyist Michael Deaver and Rabbi Schneerson. I know there are
many other equally colorful clients. What can you say on the public record with respect to your
representation of members of the Kennedy family?
Mr. Miller; I guess not really much. I guess it’s a matter of public record that I
did represent Ted Kennedy in the Chappaquiddick matter. I represented the Kennedy family
when Bob Kennedy’s son died of a drug overdose down in Florida I have represented others
throughout the years.
Mr. Willens: That all goes back to your service in the Criminal Division?
Mr. Miller: Yes, I would say that.
Mr. Willens: How did it happen that you came to represent former President
Mr. Miller: I’m not sure. I was home one day, and I received a call from Dick
Moore, who was White House counsel during the Nixon administration and whom I represented
during the Watergate inquiry. He was subsequently Ambassador to Ireland as a matter of fact.
He said he was calling from someplace up in the North woods and he asked me would I represent
Richard Nixon if asked. And I told him that if I turned down that representation I would
innnediately resign from the Bar. He said that’s what he thought. Later that day I received a call
from Ron Ziegler out in California. the President’s public relations man. The following day I
flew to California and went down to San Clemente, spent until 3 or 4 in the morning talking to
Ziegler about the various issues that were involved.
Mr. Willens: About what year was this if you recall?
Mr. Miller: 11ris was about 2 or 3 weeks after he resigned, which was 1974. I
spent the night at the then•familiar San Clemente Inn where all the reporters used to stay, but it
was quite empty. The next morning I went in and met with the President.
Mr. Willens: Had you met him before?
Mr. Miller: Only passingly in a reception line. Then we had a discussion. I
explained my background. After the conversation, he decided to retain me, and from then on I
represented him I represented him until the day he died. And we still represent him in the
remaining Nixon litigation that continues to this day.
Mr. Willens: What have been the principal issues on which you represented
President Nixon?
Mr. Miller: I suppose the original principal issue was the allegations of
criminal conduct on bis part and my negotiating the pardon. Subsequently there were (I suppose)
100, 150 lawsuits here and around the country, some governmental, some not, that raised issues
that came up. Then of course in the latter part of 1974, Congress passed legislation seizing the
Presidential papers. I argued the constitutionality of that before the courts. At first it was a
pending case before one of the District Court judges. We contended that once it was enacted
there had to be a three-judge court. I remember the decision was filed I think at 3 or 4 in the
morning, and we filed a mandamus action saying that would bar our three-judge court action, and
that was argued 2 weeks later. I remember realizing the interest in the Nixon litigation when I
arrived at the courthouse Saturday afternoon, I think 2 o’clock, and the line of spectators who
wanted to attend the argument was stretched ahnost as far as I could see around the block. We
argued the case that afternoon. Toe court directed the District Court to suspend that opinion
saying that they otherwise would issue mandamus. And then the three-judge court ruled against
us. I argued it before the Supreme Court. The government carefully avoided my invasion of
privacy arguments by saying that all of the personal and private tapes and documents that had
been seized by the government would be returned to President Nixon or bis heirs forthwith And
because of that, said the majority, there was no constitutional privacy issue. The vote was 7
against and 2 in favor of my position. I only mention that because to this date the Archives have
not returned the personal and private papers. They’ve just given us copies, but they have not
retume.d the basic original tapes. And indeed, the Department of Justice Civil Division has just
decided that we are not entitled to a return of the personal and private tapes — contrary to the
representation that the Solicitor General made to the Supreme Court back whenever it was. That
is now pending (a motion for summary judgment) before Judge Holloway Johnson. Later the
issue of Presidential immunity came up, and I argued that President Nixon as President of the
United States was entitled to absolute innnunity from any civil actions involving actions he
committed as President of the United States. Tue District Coon dismisse.d it without opinion.
Tue Court of Appeals affirmed per curium The Supreme Cow1 recognized the serious
Constitutional issues, granted certiorari, and I argued that case. By a vote of5 to 4, the Supreme
Cow1 held that he did have immunity.
Mr. Willens: That he did have innnunity.
Mr. Miller: He did have immunity. And of course there were numerous other
cases throughout the years, too many to mention here. The other major case was in 1980. We
filed a suit asking that Nixon or his heirs be compensated for the taking of bis Presidential
papers. We lost a summary judgment motion; back in 1986 summary ju dgment was rendered
against our position. We appealed. In 1989 the Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that there
was a constitutional talcing, that he and every other President who preceded him owned the
Presidential pap’ers, and that the only issue left was what compensation he was entitled to. The
case went back to the District Court, and we had a trial date set for December of this year, but
because of various matters, the trial has been put over to a future date. But I expect there will be
a resolution in that case some time within the next 6 months. Is that enough?
Mr. Willens: It obviously is such a rich source for legal historians and scholars
that I’m tempted to ask whether in retrospect there is any sort of bottom line assessment you’d
want to put on that particular representation. It certainly has generated considerable controversy
and a great deal of publicity for you and the law finn Yet I don’t want to suggest that the
important clients are more important to you than the less important clients.
Mr. Miller: Well, they’re not obviously.
Mr. Willens: I know they’re not.
Mr. Miller: I tell anyone who will listen that the representation of Richard
Nix.on was the greatest case in the history of the Republic, not only because of the constitutional
issues involved, but the length of time that it took to resolve them all. And the decisions in the
process have obviously affected the Presidency. I mean, right now you have before the Supreme
Court the issue of whether a civil lawsuit can proceed against a sitting President where the
conduct occurred prior to the President assuming office, and it’s a civil case. It’s very clear to me
that that case to a certain -extent is an outgrowth of the prior decision of the court saying that a
President has immunity for acts done while he was President of the United States. This raises the
next issue.
Mr. Willens: Do you have a view as to how that issue should be resolved?
Mr. Miller: I would not interfere with the Supreme Court dehberations.
Mr. Willens: Let me just ask a few questions generally about practice, and it may
be that we have touched on some of these as we bring this interview to conclusion. In the nearly
45 years of practice — you became a member of the bar in 1949, was it not?
Mr. Miller: Was it 1948 or 1949?
Mr. Willens: You got your B.A. in 1948 and your law degree in 1949, and
everyone complimented you completing your legal education in one year.
Mr. Miller: That is correct.
Mr. Willens: But in any event, we’re talking about 46 or 47 years of practice in a
time dwing which the Washington bar has increased in number many times over. What would
you say have been the significant changes among members of the bar over that period of time
given their growth in number , the different nature of the practices, and other factors of that sort?
Mr. Miller: Oh, I think no question that Congress has greatly influenced the
legal profession , because every time Congress passes legislation, it’s .in effect a lawyers’ relief act.
You’ve had a tremendous quantity of legislation passed which requires lawyers to interpret it.
1bis is required, of course , because much of the legislation and the regulations issued pursuant
thereto are very, very complicated, and that drives specialization.
Mr. Willens: You mentioned about your practice in the 1950s that when you
went to try a case you quickly crune to know the small group of litigators — whether they were
fifth street litigators or litigators from the larger finns. Do you still feel you have that kind of
familiarity with your colleagues at the Bar?
Mr. Miller: It’s grown so that it’s changed really. It used to be a much smaller
group, and now it’s huge. To know everybody at the bar is a waste of time, because you can’t do
it. So the lawyers in this firm, I guess what we do is meet those who also litigate. The specialists
sometimes, you know. But essentially those are the lawyers that we run across — people that we
meet in the course of depositions, other discovery, grand jury inquiries, and when we go to court.
That’s true whether it’s in this jurisdiction or around the country. Except for here, when you go
around the country, you’re on a case, you may not be back there for 3, 4, or 5 years.
Mr. Willens: .Is there a downside or loss involved in this kind of change over the
Mr. Miller: Well, anytime a group gets very large, there’s a lack of
cohesiveness. You have substantially different viewpoints, and you don’t know your opposing
lawyer as well Maybe you don’t even know him at all, whereas in the old days in the District
Court here I would walk down, and I’d walk up and down and I’d see the calendar of cases set
out, and I’d know just about every lawyer listed as appearing in court.
Mr. Willens: Do you think this has some relationship to the ongoing debate
alx>ut civility among members of the Bar?
Mr. Miller: I think it does, because once, you know in the old days, when the
District Court was in that smaller building before it moved over to the new one, the members of
the bar that would appear down there weren’t all that great in number. And even in the new
District Court, as I say, back 20 years ago, I would know just about every lawyer that was listed
as appearing before a judge on a particular case. Now I go down and, perhaps because I am
getting quite old and all my friends maybe except you have passed on, there’s a different group
down there. I was down in court the other day and I’m wandering around, and I only recognized
two or three names in going from courtroom to courtroom
Mr. Willens: Well since your early days, of course, the local bench has grown
substantially in number and has enlarged jurisdiction. Do you find yourself involved in
appearances from time to time before District of Columbia Superior Court judges?
Mr. Miller: On occasion, yes. I don’t think I’ve been before the Superior Court
in the last 2 or 3 years, but before then I remember we represented a bodyguard of a Senator who
made the mistake of showing the guards at the Capitol that he had a gun, which necessitated
appearances before that court.
Mr. Willens: Have you seen any significant changes in the relationships between
members of the bar on the one hand and members of the Bench on the other hand over the past
several decades?
Mr. Miller: Aside from the fact that it was a smaller group then, I think when
you go to these judicial conferences you about have the same relationship. Maybe that’s because
the judiciary bas a fair say in who’s invited, so that I’m not sure whether those participants in a
judicial conference actually reflect the entire Bar, because it is a small, invited percentage. But I
don’t see much difference between a judicial conference 10 years ago and now or 20 years ago
Mr. Willens: As you know from the increased coverage of the legal profession,
there seems to be a growing interest in the bottom line, and the suggestion that the profession has
increasingly taken on the attnbutes of a business. What is your sense of that?
Mr. Miller: I have read that, and I think it is an unfortunate fact. I think the
main reason is because the size of businesses, the size of clients, and the size of the cases have
increased dramatically. And in order to handle cases of that larger size, you have to maintain a
substantial statf°of lawyers, of paralegals, of support staff, you have to have large quarters, you
have to have a lot of equipment including computers, all of which entails a substantial capital
investment. A substantial capital investment requires a continual influx of business.
Mr. Willens: But isn’t that commercialization also a natural consequence of the
increased number of lawyers and their competition among themselves?
Mr. Miller: _ Yes, but I look upon it as a focus of the size of the case. I mean the
size of the case to me is what causes law firms to become large, and the larger you get the more
you have to adopt business practices. I mean, we do it. I don’t consider us a business, because
we have a great many smaller cases as distinguished from huge cases that involve 20 or 30
lawyers and paralegals. But the bigger the case, the bigger the firm. and the more you have to
look upon it, well, how do you raise money? Do you sell stock to fund this whole thing or what
do you do? But it creates a necessity because of the substantial investment, and a large firm
creates a necessity that it operate on business principles in order to survive.
Mr. Willens: Do you think the practice of advertising of legal services and other
forms of business development are necessary attributes of the profession these days?
Mr. Miller: I was opposed to the advertising concept, but it’s a first amendment
issue and has been adopted. I still wince when I see billboards advertising lawyers and see
lawyers on television saying come to our firm, and I trust that I will die before I come to that, but
maybe that’s just age. I don’t like it, but it is perhaps because of the substantial size of a cadre of
lawyers available that maybe it is a necessity that those who have particular specialties inform the
public. Because it’s very hard for an uninitiated individual to know where to go to get a lawyer.
Big corporations obviously have no problem
Mr. Willens: Do you think the attitudes with.in the profession with respect to pro
bono work have changed in the last few decades?
Mr. Miller: They haven’t here. We do a substantial amount of it.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any view as to whether that’s cormnonly shared
among other law finns? Or is that something that you don’t know.
Mr. Miller: From what I’ve seen. I think pro bono work has had much more of
an emphasis in the last 10, 20 years than it ever had before.
Mr. Willens: Another change in the local bar and in other cities as well has been
the increased number of women and minority lawyers, and gender and race issues are very much
in the headlines these days. What is your judgment about the changing complexion of the legal
Mr. Miller: Well. if you talk about gender — let’s start there. I think the first
lady lawyer that we hired was Jamie Gorelick, which was obviously a spectacular decision on our
part, because she was a fine lawyer, a former General Counsel of the Deparnnent of Defense, and
is now Deputy Attorney General of the United States. We’ve obviously hired other women since
then, and in terms of race, we have hired others of a race other than mine, and they’re outstanding
lawyers. So it is definitely a change. I can remember going to a bar association meeting in the
District of Columbia and watching the membership vote that black lawyers should not be
admitted to the bar association.
Mr. Willens: When did that change?
Mr. Miller: Well, let’s see. I was with the Kirkland finn at the thne, so that
was 1948, 1950, 1952, around in there. The vote was that they should not be admitted. A
lawsuit was bro\lght, and the vote was declared illegal because there was no checking at the door
to make sure that the people in the room were bar members and thus entitled to vote. Following
that decision, there was another meeting at which you had to prove your credentials as a bar
member. The vote was taken. The rule was changed. Blacks were admitted, and that was it.
Mr. Willens: Another issue that is much discussed among younger lawyers these
days is the proper balance between one’s professional obligation and one’s personal life. Is this
an issue that has been discussed within your firm. and what are your views on that subject?
Mr. Miller: Oh, absolutely. No, that issue has been discussed — starting with
the concept of time off in the event a child is born to the couple. We have established procedures
for the staff as well as the lawyers to help themselves to whatever time is needed. ff they desire
to go off and do some work in a pro bono thing or take time off, we do not have a sabbatical like
some firms do. But we all recognize the importance of time with the family, and the lawyers
here pretty well decide what hours they’re going to work. I mean if there’s a case here that they’re
working on, they’re going to spend whatever time is necessary to do that case, but once that case
is over, normally sometimes there’s a little bit of a hiatus before the next case, and the next case
is less demanding. I know one of the lawyers in the firm who is one of the most successful
partners spends a lot of time during the day with his family. He works out of the home to a
certain extent, comes to work in off-rush hours, and there’s no crisis, no problem I mean
everybody to the extent possible is their own master here.
Mr. Willens: Well that’s almost a fitting summation for this .interview, Jack, and
I want to thank you on behalf of the D.C. Circuit Historical Project. Are there any judgments or
observations you’d like to make at the conclusion of this .interview with respect to your four and a
half decades in Practice?
Mr. Miller: Well, I would like to say something, as a matter of fact. The first
thing I’d like to say is that Howard Willens, aside from being a friend, is one of the most
outstanding lawyers I’ve ever run across. I was crushed when he took the intelligent step of going
with one of the better law firms rather than joining me, but I have overcome that disappointment.
But his work in the Crime Commission and his superlative work at the Criminal Division were
just absolutely a great contribution to the community and the country. As to other observations, I
think the practice of law is probably the greatest institution I can imagine, if you enjoy it. If you
don’t enjoy it, you might as well go into the Serbonian Bog, but if you enjoy a new case coming
in and analyzing the facts and the law and the jousting in the court if you will, I can’t think of a
finer profession or a more enjoyable one. Which explains why I’m still working, I suppose. I
still enjoy it.
Mr. Willens: Thank you, Jack.
Adlennan, Jerome S. (“Jerry”) (General Counsel-McClellan Comm.), 62
Aeronautical Radio, Inc., 48
Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (193 7), 116
Agriculture Department, U.S., 101, 103
Air Force, y.s., 23
Air Force Training Academy (Japan), 20
Air, Inc. case, 50
Alaska, 99
American Bar Association (ABA), 103
American Oil Co. case (Amoco), 35, 46, 51
American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T), 35-36
Anderson, Bruce (HJM friend), 7, 9
Andretta, Sal (Asst. Attorney General-Justice Dept.), 40
Apalachin (New York) (organized crime meet ing), 79
Arlington, Virginia, 53
Armed Forces, U.S., 2
Anny, U.S., 3, 5, 9, 11, 20, 23
Arnold & Porter (D.C. law finn), 124
Atlanta, Georgia, 77
Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. (AEC), 31
Attorney General (Texas), 106
Attorney General, State, 80
Austin, Texas, 106
Baker, Robert (“Bobby”) (LBJ colleague), 102
Bakersfield, California, 11
Ballard, Fred (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 125
Baltimore, Maryland, 23
Batangas, Philippines, 14, 15
Bazelon, Judge David, 39
Beall, Senator Glenn, 69
Belle Glade, Florida, 116
Bell Telephone Co., 35-37
Biak, New Guinea, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18
Bilibid Prison, Philippines, 14-15
Bittinger, Donald (“Don”) (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 123, 124
Bittman, William (Chicago pension fund case), 102
Black(s), 121, 127
Browder, Earl (Socialist), 63
Buffalino, William (Teamsters representative), 56-57, 58-59
of Narcotics, 72-73, 7.6-78
Byrd, Senator Robert, 3
Caldwell, Louis (“Louie”)(General Counsel-PRC), 30, 48
California, 137
Camp Barclay, Texas, 5, 10
Captiva, Florida, 7-8
Carinisi, Tito.(defendant), 92-93
Carr, Waggoner (Texas Invest. Comm.), 107
Carteifone Company case, 37
Cassidy, John (HJM law partner), 54, 56, 68, 114, 116
Castro, Fidel, 109-110
Catholic(s), 7, 8
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 109
Chaffetz, Hanunond (HlM colleague), 30, 33, 46, 48
Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, 136
Chastie, Cy (D.C. attorney), 54
Chattanooga, Tennessee, 95
Chevy Chase, Maryland, 53
Chicago, Illinois, 30, 32, 33, 40, 82, 99, I 05
Chicago Pension Fund case, 102
Chicago Tribune, 33, 67
Civil rights, 84, 92, I 00
Clark, Judge Bennett Champ, 38
Clark, Ramsey (Lands Division-Justice Dept.), 104, 112
Code ofOmerta (Silence), 86
Columbia Heights, Minnesota, 1, 10
Communications Act (1934), 83
Congress, U.S., 84, 102, 103, 126, 138, 141
See also House of Representatives, U.S.; Senate, U.S.
Corallo, Anthony ( organized crime figure), 81
Corrections Department, 122, 126
Cosa Nostra, See Organized crime
Covington & Burling (D.C. law firm), 3 I, 35-36, 45, 119
Cox, Archibald. (“Archie”) (D.C. attorney), 112
Cox, Hugh (D.C. attorney), 35
Cutler, Charles (“Charlie”) (HJM colleague), 29-30, 37
Dallas, Texas, 104
Daytona Racetrack (Ohio), 115-116
Deaver, Michael (lobbyist), 136
Defense Department, U.S., 145
DeLaSalle High School (Minneapolis), 7
s), 40, 69, 70,
Democratic National Committee, l 03
Democratic National Convention ( 1960), 100
Detroit, Michigan, 57, 95
District of Columbia, 3, 5, 23, 26, 29, 30, 33, 38, 51, 53, 90, 104, 106, 111, 118, 126, 133
Bar, 47, 141-143
Bar Association, 145
D.C Courts …
Juvenile Court, 125
Municipal Court, 52
Superior Court, 142
D.C. Crime Commission, 42-43
See also President’s Commission
Crime rate, 121-128
“Fifth Street Bar,” 45
Law practice, 31-33
Legal community, 48
Police department, 126
Dowd, James, 95
DuCoeur, Joseph (“Joe”) (D.C attorney), 61
Duluth, Minnesota, 4
Durham rule, 123-124
Dutch freighter, 11
Eagan, Russ (HMJ colleague), 31
Eastland, Senator James 0., 69, 90
Edgerton, Judge Henry W., 38
Eichelberger, General Robert L., 12
Eisenhower, President Dwight D., 41
Eisenhower Administration, 124
Emperor’s Palace (Japan), 19
Energy Department, U.S., 133
Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. (EPA), 32
Espy, Michael (Secy.-Agriculture Dept.), I 01, I 03
Estes case (Billy Sol), IOI, 106
Evans, Courtney (HJM law partner), Ill, 114-116
Exxon Corp. (Valdez case), 99
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 71-73, 77-78, 80-83, 94, 105, 109, 114
Federal Communications Act, 36, 98
Federal Communication Commission (FCC), 30, 31, 32, 35, 44
Federal Radio Commission (FRC), 30, 48
Feld Brothers case, 34
Ferguson, Clyde (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 125
Finchaven, New Guinea, 12
Fitzsimmons, Frank (Pres.-Teamsters Union), 86
Floberg, Jack (Asst. Secy.- Navy), 30
Florida, 7, 117, 136
West Coast, 7
Flowers (Showers), April (performer), 93
Foley, William (“Bill”) (Justice Dept.), 70
Fortas, Abe (D.C. attorney), 108
Fort Snelling, Minnesota, 5
Foster, Jody (actress), 136
France, William (“Bill”) (HJM client), 115
Frankfurter, Justice Felix, 44
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 109
Geelvink Bay, New Guinea, 12
Gender issues, 145
George Washington University Law School, 2, 24, 26-27, 29, 40, 140
Law Review, 27
Germany, 1, 26
Gesell, Judge Gerhard, 120
Giancanna, Sam (organized crime figure), 110
Glenn v. Reed, 37
Glover Park, District of Columbia, 53
Goldwater, Senator Barry, 121
Goodenough Island, New Guinea, 13, 14
Gorelick, Jamie (Justice Dept.), 133, 145
Gotti, John (organized crime figure), 83
Griffith, Kelly (HJM colleague), 30, 34, 35
Guthman, Edward (“Ed”) (public information officer), 91
Heron Lake, Minnesota, 1, 2, 3
Hickory Hill, Virginia (RFK home), I 01
Hoffa, James (“Jimmy”) (pres.?Teamsters Union), 54, 81, 86, 96, 97, 99
Holden, Williain (actor), 118
Hollandia, New Guinea, 12
Holtzoff, Judge Alexander, 43-44
Hoover, John Edgar (Director-FBI), 82
Hoover, President Herbert, 27
Hopkins, Minnesota, 5, 9
House of Representatives, U.S., 3, 28
See also Congress, U.S.; Senate, U.S.
Hundley, William (“Bill”) (Justice Dept.), 66, 100-101
Hush-A-Phone Co. case, 35-3_7, 69
Indiana, 63, 118
Internal Revenue Code, 27
International Harvester case, 35
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), 32, 62
Iramagawa, Japan, 20
Ireland, 13 7 ..
hish, 7, li

hish-Catholic(s), 7
Jafjke v. Dunham, 37
Japan(ese), 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 28
See also World War Il
Jeffress, William (“Bill”) (HJM law firm), 45, 119, 131
Johnson, Judge Norma Holloway, 139
Johnson, President Lyndon B., 101-102, 107, 120-121, 126
Jurisdiction, federal criminal, 84
Justice Department, U.S., 40, 45, SO, 73-74, 84-88, 91, 107, 110-111, 11 S, 133
Antitrust Division, 45
Assistant Attorney General (office), 91, 92
Attorney General (office) 88, 90, 102-103, 110
Civil Division, 100, 139
Civil Rights Division, 11 S
Criminal Division, SO, 61-62, 65-102, 109, 111-113, 114, 115, 116, 120, 137, 147
Organized Crime Section, 71, 76
Deputy Attorney General (office), 88, 91, 115
Internal Security Division, 62
Lands Division, 104
Solicitor General, 91, 115, 139
U.S. Attorney (office), 46, 77, 82, 87-88, 89, 90
Kansas City, Missouri, 63
Katzenbach, Nicholas (“Nick”) (Justice Dept.), 69, 105-108, 115, 120-121
Kennedy, David (soo ofRFK), 136
Kennedy, President John F., 67, 68, 99, 100-102
Assassination, 75, 104-111
Senator, 62
Kennedy Administration, 67, 76
Kennedy, Robert F. (Attorney General), 41, 61, 66-68, 71, 74-75, 77-78, 80-82, 85, 88, 91-93,
95, 97-101, 104, 108-111, 136
Kennedy, Senator Edward (“Ted”), 136
Kenya, 118-119
Congressman Eugene, 100
Keogh, Judge James, !00-101
Kirkland & Ellis (D.C. law firm), 40, 42-54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 69, 132, 145
Kirkland, Flemming, Green, Martin & Ellis (Chicago law firm), 29-39
Krash, Abraham (“Abe”) (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 124
Labor racketeering, 61
See also ‘J’.?amsters Union
Lae, New Guinea, 12, 13
Lake Wobegon (radio program), 8
Larroca, Raymond (“Ray”) (HJM law partner), 54, 61, 115, I 16
Antitrust, 46, 48, 116
Bribery, 71
Civil, 117, 131
Communications, 132-133
Criminal, 45, 84, 95, 112, 116, 117, 13 I, 132
Defamation, 48
Environmental, 132
Felony, 81
Gambling, 79, 81
Housing fraud, 88
Labor racketeering, 93
Libel, 34
Money laundering, 85
Murder, 85, 127
Narcotics, 79, 81, 127
Tax, 116
White collar, 117
White slavery, 79
Wiretapping, 83
Law Enforcement Assistance Act (LEAA) (1965), 121
Lawson, Judge Marjorie (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 125
Lawyers (minority), 145
Letts, Judge F. bickinson, 55, 56, 58, 59-60, 64
Lewin, Nathaniel (“Nat”) (HJM law partner), 115
Loftus, James (“Jim”) (New York Times), 106
Long Island, New York, 29
Los Angeles, California, 117
Louisiana, 45, 109
MacArthur, General Douglas, 12, 15, 19
Mafia, See Organized crime
Manila, Philippines, 14
Maranzano, Tina {plaintiff), 34, 38
Marcello, Carlos (organized crime figure), 92, 109
Marshall, Burke (D.C. attorney; Justice Dept.), 36, 69, 92
Martindale-Hubbell (law directory), 31
Maryland, 63, 69
Mayo Clinic-Hospital Unit (Minnesota), 2
McCarthy, loseph (“Joe”) (HJM law partner), 115
McClellan, Senator John, 73, 82
McClellan Committee (Senate), 62, 63, 93, 102
McConnick, Colonel Robert R. (owner-Chicago Tribune), 33, 67
McGlynn’s Prize Bread, 8
McGlynn, Bert (HJM friend), 7, 8, 9, 10
Meese, Attorney General Edwin, 136
Miller&Evans(D.C. lawfirm), Ill, 114-115
Millds Mongoose Milk (HJM drink), 22
Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin (D.C. law firm), 115-120, 128-140, 145-147
Management Committee, 129, 135
Miller, Glenn (bandleader), 6
Miller, Herbert J., Jr. (“Jack”)· PERSONAL
Childhood, 4
George Washington University Law School, 2, 24, 26-27, 29, 40, 140
Lake Harriet Grade School, 6
University of Minnesota, 4, 5, 7, 9, 24, 140
West High School, 6, 7, 8, 9
Father, 1-4, 9, 22, 28, 70
Great-grandparents (maternal), 1
Great grandparents (paternal), 1
Military service, 5, 9-24, 25-26
Aviation Engineering Battalion, 13, 17
Officers Candidate School, 5, 10
Miller, Arthur “Mis” (uncle), 3, 4, 27
Miller, Carey Kinsolving (wife), 7, 28-29, 53, 70, 101
Miller, John Kinsolving (son), 29
Mother, 1-5, 22, 28, 70
Republican political affiliation, 28, 62, 67
Young, Dr. and Mrs. (in-laws), 28
Miller, Herbert J., Jr., (Jack) – PROFESSIONAL
Board of Monitors-Teamsters Union, 37, 51, 54-61, 63, 64, 65
Business attributes of law firms, 143-144
Chainnan-President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia, 120-128
Civility of Bar, 142
Compensation philosophy, 134-136
District of Columbia Bar Association changes, 141-142
District of Columbia Bar membership, 140
Justice Department, U.S., Assistant Attorney General-Criminal Division, 45, 50, 61-113, 114,
116, 120, 137
Kirkland & Ellis, 40, 42-54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 69, 132, 145
Kirkland, Flemming, Green, Martin & Ellis, 29-39
Law pract_icer·changes, 128-136
Lawyering, opinion, 49-50
Miller&Evans, 111, 114-115
Miller, Cassidy, Larroca and Lewin, 115-147
Chair-Management Committ ee, 129, 135-136
Miller and McCarthy, Evans & Cassidy, 115-120, 128-40, 145-147
“Miller the Blackmailer,” 36
Pro bono work, 144-145
Miller and McCarthy, Evans & Cassidy (D.C. law firm), 115
Milne Bay, New Guinea, 11, 12, 13, 14
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1, 5, 24, 26, 43
Chamber of Commerce, 3
Civic and Commerce Associations, 3
Real Estate Board, 2-3
Minneapolis Tribune, 6
Minnesota, 2, 3, 4, 5, 19, 22, 24, 28, 43
Minsker, Martin (HJM law firm), 119
Missouri, USS (World War II battleship), 18
Moore, Richard (“Dick”) (White House counsel), 137
Morgenthau, Robert (“Bob”) (U.S. Attorney-Southern District), 89, 104
Mortenson, Stanley (“Stan”) (HJM law firm), 131
Mt. Kenya Safari Club (Africa), 118
Nashville, Tennessee, 95
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), 115-116
National CoillII!ission on Organized Crime, 86
National Crime Commission, 120, 124
Navy, U.S., 10, 49
Neal, James (“Jim”) (Justice Dept.), 99
New Guinea, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18
New Orleans, Louisiana, 104
New York, New York, 3, 58, 70, 78, 80, 81, 100, 117
New York Times, 106
Nixon, President Richard M., 136, 137-140
Nixon Adm inistration, 103, 137
Law Journal, 73
Northwestern Law School, 82
Noumea, New Caledonia, 11
Novello, Angie (Secy.-Robert F. Kennedy), 66, 104
O’Donoghue, Martin Francis (“Marty”) (D.C. attorney), 54, 55-56, 59
O’Hara, Congressman Joseph Patrick, 28
Oberdorfer, Louis (Justice Dept.), 69
Okinawa, j?pan, 15, 16
Organized crime, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76-83, 86, 89, 93, 109-110, 118
Oswald, Lee Harvey (JFK assassin), 105, 106
Paris, France, 2
Parochial schools, 7, 8
Partin, James (Teamsters Union)), 96-97
Patterson, Eleanor (“Sissy”) (owner-Times Herald), 31, 33, 48
Patterson, Peny (Times Herald), 48
Pearl Harbor, 10, 21
Pension Fund case, 98
Penna Tex Co., 116
Philippine Islands, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25
Pine, Judge David A., 42
D.C. Crime Comm., 122, 124
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 57
Plumbers Union, 54, 56
Pope, Orange (defendant), 46
President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia,. 120-128, 147
Presidential Commission (JFK assassination), I 08
Prettyman, Judge E. Barrett, 38
Privacy issue, constitutional (Nixon presidential papers), 138
Probation Department, 122
Provenzano, Anthony (“Tony”) (organized crime figure), 81
Puget Sound, Washington, 23
Race issues (in legal profession), 145
Ratterman, George, 92
Red Cross (American), 14
Republican(s), 28, 62, 67, 69, l00
Rhode Island, 83
Rochester, Minnesota, 2
Rockville, Maryland, 115
Rogers, William (“Bill”) (D.C. Crime Comm.), 122, 124
Roosevelt, President Franklin D., 3, 16
Ruby, Jack (Oswald assassin), I 05
Ryan, Judge Joseph, 44, 116
Ryan, Ray (Indiana oilman), 118
San Clemente, California, 137
Sanders, Harold Barefoot, Jr. (U.S. Attorney-Dallas), 104-108
San Francisco, California, l l
Sanibel, Florida, 7
Schlei, Norbert (D.C. Crime Comm.), 121
Schneerson, Rabbi Menachim, 136
Scott Terrier Club, 49
Seattle, Washington, 23
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 32
Senate, U.S., 3, 63, 82, 84, 87
Judiciary Committee, 90
See also Congress, U.S.; House of Representatives, U.S.
Serbonian Bog, 147
Sheridan, Walter (McClellan Comm.), 62-63, 68, 93-95
Silberling, Edward (“Ed”) (Justice Dept.), 70, 76
Silbert, Earl (attorney), 103
Smith, Lany (N.Y. attorney), 58
Smithsonian Institute, 25
Socialist(s), 63
Sorbonne University (France), 2
Standard Oil Co., 33, 46
Stassen, Harold (Govt. unit secretary), 3
State Department, U.S., 115
Stephens, Judge Harold M., 38
Sun Valley, Florida, 63, 95-96
Sun Valley case, 95-96
Sweden, 1
Swiss bank accounts, 118
Tax Foundation (non-profit organization-NY), 3
Teague, Colone·) Olin Earl (Congressman), 28
Teamsters Union, 54-55, 58, 61, 64, 65, 86, 93, 94, 96-97
“Bar Association,” 59
Board of Monitors, 37, 51, 54-61, 62, 63, 64, 65
International, 55, 64
Local 777, 81
Local chapters, 57, 81, 86
Pension Fund, 95, 98-99, 102
Test Fleet case, 96-97, 99
28, 101, 105, 106
Texas Investigating Committee (JFK assassination), 106
“The Green Hornet” (nickname-D.C. attorney), 45
Tierney, Paul (Chairman-ICC), 62
Times Herald, 31, 33-34, 48, 51, 63
Tokyo, Japan, 19
“Tom and Jerry” (drink), 22
Travel Act, 71, 81
Tydings, Senator Millard, 63
U.S. Circuit Courts
D.C. Circuit, 31, 34, 35, 37, 38, 44, 51, 57, 58, 64, 80, 111, 121-123, 130, 139
Ninth Circuit, 112, 118-119
Second Circuit, 79
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 31, 41, 45, 56, 111, 112, 122, 130, 138, 139, 142
U.S. Independent Telephone Association, 35
U.S. Supreme Court, 44, 45, 51, 97, 112, 115, 119, 122, 130, 138, 139, 140
Frankfurter, Justice Felix, 44
Reports, 43
University of Minnesota, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 24, 140
Valachi, Joseph (“Joe”) (criminal informant), 72-73, 76-78, 82
Valdez case, 99
Virginia, 3
Wald, Judge Patricia M. (“Pat”), 122, 124
Waldrup, Frank (Times Herald executive), 31
Warren Commission, 108-109
“Washing Machine Charlies,” 14
Washington, Judge George, 37
Washington Gas Company, 123
Washington Post, 26, 84
Watergate scandal, 137
We Band af Brothers (Edward Guthman), 91
White, Byron (Deputy Arty. Gen.-Justice Dept.), 77-78, 89, 98, 108
White House, 101, 105, 106, 108, 111, 112
White Slave Act, 80
Willens, Howard (D.C. attorney), 60, 146
Williams, Edward Bennett (D.C. attorney), 54, 63-64, 102
Wisconsin, 51
World War I, 2
World War 11, 3, 9-25, 25-26
Aviation Engineering Battalion, 13, 17
-Al 1-
Liberty ships, 11, 22
Wright, Frank Lloyd (architect), 19
Yokahama Harbor, Japan, 15, 19
Youngdahl, Judge Luther, 43
Youngdahl, Mary (daughter-Judge Youngdahl), 43
Ziegler, Ronald (“Ron”) (Nixon aide), 137
Military Service:
January 11, 1924, Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota, 1941-1943
(withdrew to enter military service)
B.A., George Washington University, 1948
LL.B., George Washington University, 1949
Editorial Staff, George Washington Law Review
U.S. Anny in 1943, served in New Guinea, Philippines and Japan.
Discharged with the rank of Captain, 1946.
Began practice of law as Associate of Kirkland, Fleming, Green,
Martin & Ellis (now Kirkland & Ellis) and became a partner in 1958.
Appointed by President Kennedy to be Assistant Attorney General,
Criminal Division, of the Department of Justice, conllrm.ed by the Senate
in February 1961. Responsible for and supervision of the enforcement of
all Federal criminal laws with the principal exception of antitrust and
In April 1965, founded Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington,
In July 1965, appointed by President Johnson to be Chairman of the
President’s Commission on Crime for the District of Columbia.
Chairman of the Criminal Law and Procedures Committee of the Bar
Association for the District of Columbia, Director 1967; Vice President
President of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia 1970-1971.
Chairman, Judicial Selection Committee for the Bar Association of the
District of Columbia 1972-73.
-BI –
Other Activities:
Chairman of the Panel on Control and Enforcement, White House
Conference on Narcotics, September 27-28, 1962. Liaison representative
during 1963 for the Department of Justice on The President’s Advisory
Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse.
Acting Chief Delegate at the 1bird lntel’-American Convention of
Attorneys General, Mexico City, July 12-21, 1963.
Chief Delegate at the Third Meeting of Ministers of Government of
Interior and Security of the Central American Countries, Panama and
the United States, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, September 1-3, 1964.
Chairman of panel at the National Conference on Bail and Criminal
Justice, Washington, D.C., May 27-28, 1964.
Chief Delegate of the Fourth Meeting of Ministers of Government of
Interior and Security of the Central American Countries, Guatemala
City, Guatemala, January 2?30, 1965.
Adjunct Professor, Geoll”getown University I.aw Center, 1975.
Recipient of the Bar Association for the District of Columbia’s 1994
11Lawyer of the Year11 Award.
Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules for the Committee on Rules of
Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States,
1983 to 1989.
Committee on Grievances for the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia, 1983 lo March 1989; appointed Chairman of the
Committee on Grievances in 1985.
American College of Trial Lawyers.
District of Columbia Bar; Bar Association for the District of Columbia;
American Bar Association.
-B2 –

Arbitration: Litigation of domestic contract disputes before AAA tribunals and
disputes involving foreign governments and corporations under ICC and ICSID rules
relating to expropriation of assets and patent infringement.
Appellate: Presented cases on behalf of clients in the U.S. Supreme Court,
Federal Appellate Courts and state courts in Illinois and New Jersey.
Criminal: Representation of U.S. and foreign companies and individuals
before the U.S. Department of Justice, Special Prosecutors, grand juries and courts
involving alleged violations of U.S. criminal laws; internal corporate investigation of
alleged criminal conduct by employees.
Regulatory: Representation of clients before agencies administering U.S.
antitrust, securities, anti-discrimination, automotive safety and emissions, anti-boycott
and consumer protection laws.
International: Representation of the Northern Marianas people in negotiations
with the United States regarding the terms under which they became U.S. citizens and
a commonwealth under U.S. sovereignty (1972-75); consultant to First Northern
Marianas Constirutional Convention (1976) and Third Northern Marianas
Constitutional Convention (1995-96); representation of U .K. agency regarding project
financing in Micronesia.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Assisted the head of the Crimina) Division in enforcing the
the criminal laws of the U.S. through a staff of about 150
lawyers in Washington and more than 90 U.S. Attorney
offices throughout the U.S.; participation in major
investigations and appellate arguments involving labor
racketeering and organized crime.
Assistant Counsel, President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
Assisted the General Counsel and the Commission in
organizing, staffing and administering the investigation of
the assassination and the writing of the Commission report.
-B4 –
Executive Director, President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Colwnbia
Supervised a staff of 15 lawyers and other professionals in
a 16-month investigation of the criminal justice system in
the District of Columbia (police, courts, and correctional
iostitutions) and the preparation of a report on the subject.
EDUCATION Yale Law School (1953-56)
LL.B. degree with honors; Editor, Yale Law Journal; awards in
labor law and international law.
University of Michigan (1950-53)
Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction; Phi Beta Kappa
Stanford University (1949-50)
PROFESSIONAL Board of Trustees, National and Washington Lawyers’
Committees for Civil Rights Under Law ( 1971-present)
Board of Directors, Council for Court Excellence (1984-88)
Board of Directors, Public Defender Service of the District of
Columbia (1977-81)
D.C. Committee on Unauthorized Practice (1972-74)
Criminal Justice Planning Board for the District of Columbia
Occasional law school lecturer on criminal law. trial practice and
legal ethics.
PUBLICATIONS Co-author (with D.C. Siemer), “The Constitution of the Northern
Mariana Islands: Constitutional Principles and Innovation in a
Pacific Setting,” 65 Georgetown Law Journal 1373 (1977)
Occasional articles on other subjects.
Member of the Illinois, District of Columbia and Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands bars; admitted to practice before
the U.S. Supreme Court, and U.S. Courts of Appeals for the
D.C., Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh