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Interview with Griffin Bell, February 22, 2007

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - Early life / Early career

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Partial Transcript: What I would like to do if you will, Judge Bell, so our audience will know you a little better is just tell us a little bit about yourself growing up down in Sumter County.

Segment Synopsis: Bell talks about his early life growing up in southern Georgia. He later talks about his education, military service, and early law career.

Keywords: Americus, Ga; Concord Community; Georgia Supreme Court; King and Spalding; Mercer Law School; Sumter County; Warner Robins; World War II; attorney; bull weevil; cotton farming; federal judge; law; lawyer; military

00:06:40 - Chief of Staff for Governor Vandiver

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Partial Transcript: I had a great experience on the bench.

Segment Synopsis: Bell talks about being Governor Vandiver's chief of staff during the Civil Rights era and how school integration impacted Governor Vandiver's political career.

Keywords: Americus; Civil Rights; Supreme Court; Vandiver; chief of staff; governor; hugh spalding; integration; john sibley; law

00:12:43 - School integration

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Partial Transcript: So Governor Vandiver called a special session and he addressed the General Assembly on television at night -- which was the first time that it had ever been done -- to explain the crisis -- what we had to do.

Segment Synopsis: Bell shares his experience with racial integration of schools and talks about some of the court cases he presided over.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Frank Twitty; Governor Vandiver; Jim Gillis; Mississippi; University of Georgia; fourteenth amendment; integration; legislation; marching; supreme court

00:22:33 - US Attorney General

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Partial Transcript: At any rate, I finally decided that I was 56-years-old and I didn’t want to do this judging the rest of my life.

Segment Synopsis: Bell talks about his time as Attorney General. he also mentions the department's devotion to combating white collar crime and corruption.

Keywords: Speaker O'Neill; Tongsun Park; attorney general; corruption; white collar crime

00:31:53 - Relationship with President Jimmy Carter / Department of Justice

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Partial Transcript: Well, I would like to ask you a question about your relationship with President Carter while you were in Washington.

Segment Synopsis: Bell explains how he had a great relationship with President Carter because Carter allowed for Bell to run the Justice Department with no interference. Bell talks about how the Justice Department is run, the type of people who work for the department, and who should be in the position of Attorney General.

Keywords: Attorney General; Carter; Department of Justice; Jimmy Carter; Lester Maddox; Ms Reno; appointment; election; federal court system; federal system; governor; hands off; lawyer; program

00:36:53 - Intelligence / Terrorism / Rights for foreigners

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Partial Transcript: You also paid special attention to intelligence – as the Attorney General.

Segment Synopsis: Bell talks about intelligence issues in court cases, and he explains the role that the president and the Justice Department has in intelligence issues. Bell later talks about the rights that foreigners have within the US court system.

Keywords: 9/11; Al-Qaeda; FBI; Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; George Washington; Guantanamo Bay; John Marshall; intelligence