George J. Mitchell

George J. Mitchell

Infobox Officeholder
name = George J. Mitchell

imagesize = 191px

jr/sr = United States Senator
state = Maine
term_start = May 17, 1980
term_end = January 3, 1995
deputy =
predecessor = Edmund Muskie
successor = Olympia Snowe
order2 = 17th United States Senate Majority Leader
term_start2 = January 3, 1989
term_end2 = January 3, 1995
vicepresident2 =
viceprimeminister2 =
deputy2 = Alan Cranston
Wendell H. Ford
president2 =
primeminister2 =
predecessor2 = Robert Byrd
successor2 = Bob Dole
order3 = 2nd Deputy President "pro tempore" of the United States Senate
term_start3 = 1987
term_end3 = 1988
vicepresident3 =
viceprimeminister3 =
deputy3 =
president3 = Senator John C. Stennis
primeminister3 =
predecessor3 = Hubert Humphrey (1978)
successor3 = Vacant
birth_date = birth date and age|1933|08|20
birth_place = Waterville, Maine
death_date =
death_place =
constituency =
party = Democratic
spouse =
profession = Lawyer
religion =

footnotes =

:"For other persons with a similar name, see George Mitchell".George John Mitchell, GBE (born August 20, 1933 in Waterville, Maine) is a former Democratic Party politician and United States Senator who currently serves as chairman of the worldwide law firm DLA Piper and also as the Chancellor of the Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was the U.S. Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and chairman of The Walt Disney Company from March 2004 until January 2007.

He was the main investigator in both Mitchell Reports.

On August 10, 2007, ABC News reported that Senator Mitchell had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. [ [ ABC News: Ex-Senate Leader Mitchell Has Cancer ] ]

Early career

Mitchell's father, George John Mitchell, was of Irish descent and was a janitor at Colby College and his mother, Mary Saad, was a textile worker who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon at the age of eighteen. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1954. In 1961, Mitchell received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center — he has since received an honorary LL.D. from Bates College. He served as a trial attorney for the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, 1960–1962, and then as executive assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie 1962–1965. Mitchell practiced law in Portland, Maine, 1965–1977 and was assistant county attorney for Cumberland County, Maine in 1971.

Political career

In 1974 he won the Democratic nomination for governor of Maine, defeating Joseph Brennan. Mitchell lost in the general election to independent candidate James B. Longley, but was appointed United States Attorney for Maine by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Mitchell served in that capacity from 1977 to 1979 when he was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Maine. Mitchell served as a federal judge until he was appointed to the United States Senate in May 1980 by the governor of Maine, Joseph Brennan, when Edmund Muskie resigned to become U.S. Secretary of State.

He was elected to a full term in 1982, reelected in 1988 and did not run for reelection in 1994. He rose quickly in the Senate Democratic leadership, serving as Deputy President pro tempore from 1987 to 1988. He then served as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. In 1994, President Bill Clinton offered him a seat on the Supreme Court. He declined, citing his desire to focus on the health care plan that was then before the Senate.

Electoral History

1 Appointed to the office by then-Governor Joe Brennan in 1980 following the resignation of Ed Muskie to become Secretary of State

After politics

After leaving the senate Mitchell joined the Washington, D.C. law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand; he later became the firm's chairman. He was criticized for lobbying on behalf of the firm's Big Tobacco clients. [] [] He is also senior counsel to Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau, Pachios, Orlick & Haley in Portland, Maine.

Since 1995, he has been active in the Northern Ireland peace process as U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. Mitchell first led a commission that established the principles on non-violence to which all parties in Northern Ireland had to adhere and subsequently chaired the all-party peace negotiations, which led to the Belfast Peace Agreement signed on Good Friday 1998 (known since as the Good Friday Agreement). Mitchell's personal intervention with the parties was crucial to the success of the talks. He was succeeded as special envoy by Richard Haass. For his involvement in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, Mitchell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom [] (on March 17, 1999) and the Liberty Medal (on July 4, 1998).

In 2000 Al Gore reportedly consider naming Mitchell his running-mate. Gore, however, ultimately selected Joe Lieberman [ [ Gore considers naming VP immediately after GOP convention - June 13, 2000 ] ] . Had Mitchell been nominated and the Democratic ticket won that year, he would have been the first Arab American to serve as the Vice President of the United States and just the second Vice President from Maine after Hannibal Hamlin.

Since 2002, Mitchell has been a Senior Fellow and Senior Research Scholar at the Columbia University Center for International Conflict Resolution, where he works to help end or avert conflicts between nations.

He has frequently been mentioned in the past in conjunction with potential appointment for the position of Commissioner of Baseball, but nothing to accomplish this has ever been effected. He also has been mentioned in both 2000 and in 2004 as a potential Secretary of State for a Democratic administration, due to his role as Senate Leader and the Good Friday agreements.

He is the Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and namesake of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, which sponsors graduate study for twelve Americans each year in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

He is the founder of the Mitchell Institute, in Portland, Maine, whose mission is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education.

He is Partner and Chairman of the Global Board of DLA Piper, US LLP, a global law firm.

On March 4, 2004, Disney's board of directors, on which he had served since 1995, named him Michael Eisner's replacement as Chairman of the Board after 43% of the company's shares were voted against Eisner's reelection. Mitchell himself received a 25% negative vote, a fact that led dissident Disney shareholders Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold to criticize the appointment of Mitchell, whom they saw as Eisner's puppet. On June 28, 2006, Disney announced that its board had elected one of its members, John Pepper, Jr., former CEO of Procter and Gamble, to replace Mitchell as chairman effective January 1, 2007.

Mitchell spent time as a Director in the front office for the Boston Red Sox, but quit on November 15, 2006.

He served as co-chairman (with Newt Gingrich) of the Congressionally mandated Task Force on the United Nations, which released its findings and recommendations on June 15, 2005.

In 2007, he became a visiting Professor in Leeds Metropolitan University's School of Applied Global Ethics and the University is developing a new [| Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution] bearing his name.

Baseball's steroids investigation

On March 29, 2006, ESPN learned that Mitchell would head an investigation into past steroid use by Major League Baseball players.Mitchell was asked by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to investigate steroids charges, mainly against Barry Bonds, brought by recent revelations in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) trials of Victor Conte and Greg Anderson. Selig has said that revelations brought forth in the 2005 book "Game of Shadows" were, by way of calling attention to the issue, in part responsible for the league's decision to commission an independent investigation. To this day he is known to have held meetings with only two active players, Jason Giambi, who was ordered to meet Mitchell by Commissioner Selig in light of his public admissions on the issue, and one additional player whose name was initially not made public but was later revealed to be Frank Thomas.

Mitchell released a 409-page report of his findings on December 13, 2007. The report includes the names of 89 former and current players for whom it claims evidence of use of steroids or other prohibited substances exists. This list includes names of Most Valuable Players and All-Stars, such as Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Denny Neagle, Paul Lo Duca, David Justice, Barry Bonds, Eric Gagné, Todd Hundley, Randy Velarde, and Benito Santiago.

Mitchell has taken on a role similar to that of John M. Dowd, who investigated Pete Rose's gambling in 1989.

Interestingly, Mitchell, a Director for the Boston Red Sox, accused more players from the rival New York Yankees of using steroids than from any other team. This raised serious questions among many experts and baseball fans over the impartiality of the report, given Mitchell's former connections to the Red Sox.


* Mitchell, in accepting the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, stated: "I believe there’s no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended. They’re created and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. No matter how ancient the conflict, no matter how hateful, no matter how hurtful, peace can prevail." [ [ 1998 Recipient George Mitchell - Liberty Medal - National Constitution Center ] ]

See also

* Sigma Nu LEADership learning program


*"Great American Lighthouses" (August 1989)
*"World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth" (January 1991)
*"Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism" (May 1997)
*"Making Peace" (April 1999 — 1st Edition, July 2000 — Updated)


Further reading

*Gould, Alberta. "George Mitchell: In Search of Peace". Farmington, Maine: Heritage Pub., 1996

External links

* [ Interview with George Mitchell]
* [ Official Biography] from the Federal Judicial Center

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