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William B. Saxbe
United States Ambassador to India

In office
February 3, 1975 – November 20, 1976
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Daniel P. Moynihan
Succeeded by Robert F. Goheen
United States Attorney General

In office
January 4, 1974 – February 2, 1975
President Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded by Elliot L. Richardson
Robert Bork (acting)
Succeeded by Edward H. Levi
United States Senator
from Ohio

In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1974
Preceded by Frank J. Lausche
Succeeded by Howard Metzenbaum
Ohio Attorney General

In office
Governor Jim Rhodes
Preceded by Mark McElroy
Succeeded by Paul W. Brown

In office
Governor C. William O'Neill
Preceded by C. William O'Neill
Succeeded by Mark McElroy
Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives

In office
January 5, 1953 – January 2, 1955
Preceded by Gordon Renner
Succeeded by Roger Cloud
Personal details
Born William Bart Saxbe
(1916-06-24)June 24, 1916
Mechanicsburg, Ohio, U.S.
Died August 24, 2010(2010-08-24) (aged 94)
Mechanicsburg, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ardath Louise Kleinhans (1940-2010; his death)
Children William Bart Saxbe, Jr.
Charles Rockwell "Rocky" Saxbe
Juliet Louise "Juli" Saxbe Spitzer
Alma mater Ohio State University
Profession Politician
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War

William Bart "Bill" Saxbe (/ˈsæks.b/; June 24, 1916 – August 24, 2010) was an American politician affiliated with the Republican Party, who served as a U.S. Senator for Ohio, and was the Attorney General for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, and as the U.S. Ambassador to India.

At the time of his death, Saxbe was an oldest living Republican Senator and the second-oldest living Senator overall (after Harry F. Byrd, Jr., of Virginia).

Early life and career

Saxbe's law offices, in Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

Saxbe was born 1916 in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, the son of Faye Henry (née Carey) "Maggie" Saxbe, and Bart Rockwell Saxbe.[1]

He received a bachelor's degree, from the Ohio State University, Class of 1940, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, during World War II, from 1940 to 1945, and Korean War, from 1951 to 1952.[2]

When he returned from World War II, he entered Ohio State University law school. However, while still in law school, he campaigned for the Ohio House of Representatives during 1947, and won. During 1948, when Saxbe was near the end of second term, he received a law degree.

He remained in the Ohio National Guard and was on active duty during the Korean War, from 1951 to 1952. He was discharged from the reserve with the rank of colonel during 1963.[2] He served as the Ohio House majority leader during 1951 and 1952, and as speaker of the House during 1953 and 1954.

Higher political office

During 1957, Saxbe was elected Ohio Attorney General, defeating Democrat Stephen M. Young. He was re-elected three times and had that office until 1968. In this capacity, Saxbe argued the murder case of Doctor Sam Sheppard before the United States Supreme Court during 1966, against Sheppard's attorney F. Lee Bailey.

He was a member of the Ohio Crime Commission from 1967 to 1968. During 1968, Saxbe was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating the Democratic candidate, former Ohio Rep. (1965–67) John J. Gilligan. He served in the Senate until January 4, 1974, when he was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Nixon.[3] Saxbe was the permanent replacement for Elliot Richardson, who had been dismissed by Nixon during the Watergate scandal's so-called "Saturday Night Massacre". Saxbe took over from Solicitor General Robert Bork, who had served as acting Attorney General after the "Massacre".

There was some minor controversy regarding Saxbe's appointment and the Ineligibility Clause of the Constitution. That provision states that a legislator cannot be appointed to an executive position during the same term that the legislature had voted to increase the salary of said position. Nixon addressed the problem by having Congress reduce the salary of the Attorney General to $35,000,[4] as it was before Saxbe's term in the Senate began. This maneuver had only occurred once before, when Senator Philander C. Knox had been appointed Secretary of State during 1909,[5] and has since become known as the "Saxbe fix". Because there was not any perception that anything intentional had been done to benefit Saxbe, the matter was largely ignored.

As Attorney General for Nixon, Saxbe supervised the antitrust suit that ended the Bell System telephone monopoly.[6]

Gilligan, who had been elected Governor of Ohio during 1970, appointed Howard Metzenbaum to serve Saxbe's vacated term. Later that year, former astronaut John Glenn, another Democrat, was elected to replace Saxbe.

Saxbe served as U.S. Attorney General for the first few months of the President Ford Administration, before the resigning during early 1975, when he was appointed United States Ambassador to India. He served in that capacity until 1977. After that, Saxbe returned to Mechanicsburg and resumed the practice of law.

Personal life

During 1940, Saxbe married the former Ardath Louise "Dolly" Kleinhans.[2] They had three children: William Bart Saxbe, Jr., Juliet Louise "Juli" Saxbe Spitzer, and Charles Rockwell "Rocky" Saxbe. Charles Saxbe served four terms in Ohio House of Representatives, and later as an attorney in private practice.

Saxbe was known for his quips. Asked about Sen. Robert Dole, he commented that Dole was so unpopular with his fellow senators that he "couldn't sell beer on a troop ship".[7]

He died in his hometown of Mechanicsburg, Ohio at the age of 94 during August 2010.[8]


  1. William B. Saxbe, Peter D. Franklin, Diana Britt Franklin I've seen the elephant page 7 (Accessed February 14, 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 West's Encyclopedia of American Law (accessed February 14, 2010)
  3. "William Bart Saxbe". The United States Department of Justice. 
  4. Deseret News, 8 December 1973, p. A1
  5. "Way Clear For Knox to Enter Cabinet" (PDF). The New York Times. 1909-02-16. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  6. O'Connor, Anahad (25 August 2010). "William Saxbe, Attorney General During Watergate Inquiry, Dies at 94". New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  7. "First Out of the Chute: Bob Dole". The New York Times. June 19, 1994. p. 16. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  8. Albrecht, Brian (24 August 2010). "Former U.S. Sen. William B. Saxbe dies at age 94". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

External links

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