Ramsey Clark, attorney general under Johnson, dies at 93

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1976 file photo, Ramsey Clark, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, center, speaks at Lincoln Center in New York. Ramsey Clark, the attorney general in the Johnson administration who became an outspoken activist for unpopular causes and a harsh critic of U.S. policy, has died, Friday, April 9, 2021. He was 93. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File)

NEW YORK – Ramsey Clark, the attorney general in the Johnson administration who became an outspoken activist for unpopular causes and a harsh critic of U.S. policy, has died. He was 93.

Clark, whose father, Tom Clark, was attorney general and U.S. Supreme Court justice, died on Friday at his Manhattan home, a family member, Sharon Welch, announced to media outlets including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

After serving in President Lyndon Johnson’s Cabinet in 1967 and ’68, Clark set up a private law practice in New York in which he championed civil rights, fought racism and the death penalty, and represented declared foes of the United States including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. He also defended former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

New York civil rights attorney Ron Kuby, who worked with Clark on numerous cases, called the death “very, very sad in a season of losses."

“The progressive legal community has lost its elder dean and statesman," Kuby said. “Over many generations, Ramsey Clark was a principled voice, conscience and a fighter for civil and human rights."

In courtrooms around the country Clark defended antiwar activists. In the court of public opinion, he charged the United States with militarism and arrogance, starting with the Vietnam War and continuing with Grenada, Libya, Panama and the Gulf War.

When Clark visited Iraq after Operation Desert Storm and returned to accuse the United States of war crimes, Newsweek dubbed him the Jane Fonda of the Gulf War.

Clark said he only wanted the United States to live up to its ideals. “If you don’t insist on your government obeying the law, then what right do you have to demand it of others?” he said.