Edwin Meese, III was born on December 2, 1931 in Oakland, California. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1953 and earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1958. He took a two-year leave during law school to serve as an artillery officer in the Army and eventually retired as a colonel in the United States Army Reserve. After graduating from law school, Mr. Meese joined the Oakland District Attorney’s office serving as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County, California until 1967. During this time he also helped teach a clinical law program. Beginning in 1967 he worked in various capacities for California Governor Reagan; as secretary on clemency and crime issues, as an executive assistant, as chief of staff and as a senior advisor on policy issues. Between 1974 and 1977, Mr. Meese worked for Rohr Industries in California and had a solo law practice. He accepted a position with the law school of the University of San Diego in 1977, became a professor of law and Director of the school’s Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management. From 1981 to 1985, Mr. Meese held the position of counselor to President Reagan. During this time he was a member of the National Security Council and chaired the Domestic Policy Council and the National Drug Policy Board. Appointed by President Reagan, he became the 75th Attorney General on February 25th, 1985. He published his memoir in 1992, entitled With Reagan: The Inside Story.
Born in Reno, Nevada, Van Howd is a well-known sculptor and painter of wildlife and western art themes. He received his education at the Art Center School in southern California. In 1970, he was commissioned to paint portraits of Presidents Reagan and Bush for the Presidential plate. Van Howd painted Attorney General Meese’s portrait in 1991.