Movie sparks look at Baylor’s role in prosecuting the Watergate scandal
My wife and I watched All the President’s Men this weekend, the Robert Redford-Dustin Hoffman film that tells the tale of the two Washington Post reporters who dug up the Watergate scandal that would eventually lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
The movie brought to mind one of the key players as things unfolded in the mid-1970s: Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, a Waco native and member of Baylor’s class of 1925. Jaworski led the fight to acquire tapes of conversations that captured Nixon and other top officials discussing the Watergate cover-up, thus implicating the president in the crimes. The Supreme Court ruled in Jaworski’s favor in July 1974, and Nixon resigned less than three weeks later. (Interesting find: this profile of Jaworski that ran in the March 11, 1974 issue of Time magazine pictured at right.)
Earlier in his career, Jaworski made a name for himself as one of the top courtroom lawyers in Texas, becoming a managing partner at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston (today one of the largest law firms in the U.S. and holding 16 locations worldwide) and holding presidencies of the American Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the State Bar of Texas. He presented a number of lectures at Baylor Law School over the years.
The Texas Collection holds many of Jaworski’s papers and letters, as well as transcripts of 18 hours of interviews conducted by Dr. Thomas Charlton in the late 1970s and early 1980s about his career, from Waco to Watergate.
He is memorialized at the law school by the Leon Jaworski Center, which includes a study lounge overlooking the river, the dean’s administrative suite, the career services office, and a re-creation of Jaworski’s Houston office that includes many of his personal furnishings and artifacts.
Sic ’em, all you Bears fighting for justice like Leon Jaworski!