Ken Starr


Ken Starr : biography

21 July 1946 –

Blackwater Security Consulting v. Nordan (No. 06-857)

Starr continues to represent Blackwater in a case involving the deaths of four unarmed civilians killed by Blackwater contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004.

California Proposition 8 post-election lawsuits

On December 19, 2008, Proposition 8 supporters named Starr to represent them in post-election lawsuits to be heard by the Supreme Court of California. Opponents of the measure sought to overturn it as a violation of fundamental rights, while supporters sought to invalidate the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in the state before Proposition 8 passed. Oral arguments took place on March 5, 2009, in San Francisco.

Starr argued that "Prop. 8 was a modest measure that left the rights of same-sex couples undisturbed under California’s domestic-partner laws and other statutes banning discrimination based on sexual orientation", to the agreement of most of the judges. The main issue that arose during the oral argument included the meaning of the word "inalienable", and to which extent this word goes when used in Article I of the Californian Constitution. Christopher Krueger of the attorney general’s office said that inalienable rights may not be stripped away by the initiative process. Starr countered that "rights are important, but they don’t go to structure…rights are ultimately defined by the people".

The court ultimately held that the measure was valid and effective, but would not be applied retroactively to marriages performed prior to its enactment.

Defense of Jeffrey Epstein

In 2007 Starr joined the legal team of Palm Beach millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was criminally accused of the statutory rape of numerous underaged high school students. Epstein would later plea bargain to plead guilty to several charges of soliciting prostitutes and serve 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach jail.

Early 1990s

When the Senate Ethics Committee needed someone to review Republican Senator Bob Packwood’s diaries, the committee chose Starr. In 1990, Starr was the leading candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court nomination after William Brennan’s retirement. He encountered strong resistance from the Department of Justice leadership, which feared that Starr might not be reliably conservative as a Supreme Court justice. President George H. W. Bush nominated David Souter instead of Starr. Starr also considered running for the United States Senate from Virginia in 1994 against incumbent Chuck Robb, but opted against opposing Oliver North for the Republican nomination.

Legal career

After his graduation from Duke, Starr became first a law clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge David W. Dyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1973–1974), then for Chief Justice Warren Burger (1975–1977).

He joined the Washington, D.C. office of the Los Angeles-based law firm Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher in 1977 and was appointed counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith in 1981.