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Press Release

Statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the Life of Walter E. Dellinger III

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released today the following statement on the passing of Walter E. Dellinger III:

“The passing of Walter Dellinger is an enormous loss for those of us at the Justice Department who worked alongside and learned from him, for his family who cherished him, and for our nation, which was made better because of him.

“It is difficult to know where to begin in remembering someone who lived as fully and gave of himself as generously as Walter did. Throughout his life, Walter created communities of friends, students, and mentees who shared his passion for the law and his devotion to the pursuit of justice.

“I first had the privilege to work alongside Walter at the Justice Department when he came to Washington, D.C. from Duke Law with his beloved wife, Anne, and served as a professor in residence in the Appellate Section of the Civil Division. I worked with him again when he served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, and then as Acting Solicitor General. His exuberance and passion for life and the law were palpable in everything he did.

“Walter approached the law not as a career, but as a calling. He believed it was his privilege to be able to use the law to make our democracy work better for everyone. He was a tireless advocate on behalf of those with whom he worked, and on behalf of the American people for whom he worked. He did not hesitate to lend his voice in service of lifting up the voices of others. His work had an enormous impact on all of us at the Justice Department, and on the lives of millions of people he would never know.

“For Walter, tackling the most urgent, complex, and important questions of law was not exclusive of living a life filled with joy. He filled his life — and the lives of those of us lucky enough to have known him — with light.

“All of us at the Department extend our deepest condolences to his loving family. We join them in mourning Walter’s passing, and in expressing our gratitude for his extraordinary legacy.”

Updated February 16, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-137