Zoe Baird

Good Help
February 15, 1993

The angry populism that forced Zoe Baird to withdraw her nomination as attorney general was expressed as a syllogism. She had broken "the law" (which law, no one was precisely sure); therefore she was not fit to lead the Department of Justice. Taking their cue from their constituents, the senators who demanded Baird's repentance were equally legalistic. "To me this is a big deal, personally," said Senator Joseph Biden, "and I suspect it is to a lot of Americans." "A technical or theoretical violation?" asked Senator Alan Simpson, incredulously.

Danny and Zoe
February 01, 1993

The drama that culminated in Zoe Baird's selection as attorney general was demeaning to all the players. First, Bill Clinton made it clear that only women need apply. Then Judge Patricia Wald, who deserved to be at the top of a coed list, took herself out of the running. Brooksley Born, a Washington lawyer-activist, lost the job by leaving Clinton cold in her interview--after boasting to friends that she had clinched the nomination.