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Historical Biography

Deputy Attorney General: Nicholas deB. Katzenbach

Portrait of Deputy Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach
Katzenbach, Nicholas deB.
7th Deputy Attorney General, -

Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach was the 7th Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He served as the Department’s second-ranking official from May 1962 to February 1965.

As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Katzenbach took a prominent role in the Department’s fight for civil rights, overseeing departmental operations in desegregating the University of Mississippi (September 1962) and the University of Alabama (June 1963). He also worked with Congress to facilitate passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

At the time of his nomination for the post of Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Katzenbach was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, an appointment he had attained in 1961. From 1950 to 1952 he served as an attorney-advisor in the Office of General Counsel to the Secretary of the Air Force. Mr. Katzenbach taught law at Yale University from 1952 to 1956 and at the University of Chicago from 1956 to 1960. 

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Katzenbach graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, received his B.A. cum laude from Princeton University in 1945 and his LL.B. cum laude from Yale University Law School in 1947. His undergraduate studies at Princeton were interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and was a prisoner of war in both Italy and Germany. From 1947 to 1949, Mr. Katzenbach was a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Updated February 29, 2024