Arnold Burns

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Arnold Burns
United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by D. Lowell Jensen
Succeeded by Harold G. Christensen
United States Associate Attorney General
In office
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by D. Lowell Jensen
Succeeded by Stephen S. Trott
Personal details
Born Arnold Irwin Burns
(1930-04-14)April 14, 1930
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Died October 1, 2013(2013-10-01) (aged 83)
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Spouse(s) Felice Burns
Alma mater Union College (B.A)
Cornell Law School (J.D.)
Religion Judaism

Arnold Irwin Burns (April 14, 1930 – October 1, 2013) was an American lawyer. He served as the United States Deputy Attorney General from 1986 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese. In March 1988, Burns, together with the head of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division William Weld and four aides, resigned from office in protest of what they viewed as improper conduct by Attorney General Meese, including personal financial indiscretions.[1] In July 1988, Burns and Weld jointly testified before the U.S. Congress in support of a potential prosecution of Meese following an investigation by a special prosecutor, who had declined to file charges.[1] Meese resigned from office later in July 1988, shortly after Burns and Weld appeared before Congress.[1]

Life and career

Burns was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 14, 1930.[1] His mother, Rose Burns, was a homemaker, while his father, Herman Burns, owned a jewelry store.[1] He received his bachelor's degree in political science from Union College in 1950 and a law degree from Cornell Law School in 1953.[1] He later served as the Chairman of Union College's Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1986.[2]

Burns worked for a private law firm after law school. He then co-founded Burns Summit Rovins & Feldesman, where he specialized in corporate law for more than twenty-five years.[1] He was appointed as United States Associate Attorney General in late 1985 after Attorney General Meese's first choice for the position was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee.[1] In July 1986, Burns was appointed United States Deputy Attorney General, the second highest ranking position in the Justice Department, a position he held until his resignation in protest of Meese's conduct in 1988.[1]

Burns joined Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn for approximately a decade after leaving the Justice Department.[2] He also published a memoir, Preparing to Be Lucky, as well as two joke books.[2]

Arnold Burns died from cardiac arrest and complications of Parkinson's disease in Manhattan, New York City, on October 1, 2013, at the age of 83.[1] He was survived by his wife of 62 years, Felice Bernstein, and two children, Douglas Burns and Linda Burns.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Yardley, William (2013-10-01). "Arnold Burns, Who Left Justice Dept. in Protest, Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "College mourns Arnold Burns ' 50, former chair of Board". Union College. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>