Ken Starr

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Ken Starr : biography

21 July 1946 –

Second thoughts on DOJ request

In 2004 Starr expressed regret for ever having asked the Department of Justice to assign him to oversee the Lewinsky investigation personally, saying "the most fundamental thing that could have been done differently" would have been for somebody else to have investigated the matter.Deseret News: December 4, 2004.

Political satire

As with many controversial figures, Kenneth Starr has been the subject of political satire. Both the book, And the Horse He Rode In On, by James Carville, and the stage play, Starr’s on Broadway, by Eric Zaccar, attempt to add a comedic, arguably negative light to Starr’s time as special prosecutor.

Post-Independent Counsel activities

After five years as independent counsel, Starr resigned and returned to private practice as an appellate lawyer and a visiting professor at New York University and the George Mason University School of Law. Starr worked as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, specializing in litigation. He was one of the lead attorneys in a class-action lawsuit filed by a coalition of liberal and conservative groups (including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association) against the regulations created by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known informally as McCain-Feingold Act. In the case, Starr argued that the law is an unconstitutional abridgement of free speech.

On April 6, 2004, he was appointed dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. He originally accepted a position at Pepperdine as the first dean of the newly created School of Public Policy in 1996; however, he withdrew from the appointment in 1998, several months after the Lewinsky controversy erupted. Critics charged that there was a conflict of interest due to substantial donations to Pepperdine from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a Clinton critic who funded many media outlets attacking the president. (Scaife’s money, however, supported the Foster-was-murdered theory, according to CNN, and Scaife defunded The American Spectator after it endorsed Starr’s conclusion of suicide and mocked a Scaife-aided book.) In 2004, some five years after President Clinton’s impeachment, Starr was again offered a Pepperdine position at the School of Law and this time accepted it.

Death penalty cases

In 2005 Starr worked to overturn the death sentence of Robin Lovitt, who was on Virginia’s Death Row for murdering a man during a robbery in 1998. Starr provided his services to Lovitt pro bono. On October 3, 2005, the Supreme Court denied certiorari. (Lovitt was granted clemency and had his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole, on November 29, 2005, by Governor Mark Warner of Virginia.)

On January 26, 2006, the defense team of convicted murderer Michael Morales (which included Starr) sent letters to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requesting clemency for Morales. Letters purportedly from the jurors who determined Morales’s death sentence were included in the package sent to Schwarzenegger.

Sarbanes–Oxley

Ken Starr announced that he would challenge the portion of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act that gives authority to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Morse v. Frederick

On May 4, 2006, Starr announced that he would represent the school board of Juneau, Alaska, in its appeal to the United States Supreme Court in a case brought by a former student, Joseph Frederick. The former student unfurled a banner at a school sponsored event saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" as the Olympic torch was passing through Juneau, prior to arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The board decided to suspend the student. The student then sued and won at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which stated that the board violated the student’s first amendment right to free speech. On August 28, 2006, Starr filed a writ of certiorari for a hearing with the Supreme Court. On June 21, 2007, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, the Court ruled in favor of Starr’s client, finding that "a principal may, consistent with the First Amendment, restrict student speech at a school event, when that speech is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use".