After brief service in the Department of Justice, Robert F. Kennedy joined the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the United States Senate (then headed by JOSEPH MCCARTHY) in 1953 as assistant counsel. When John McClellan became chairman in 1955 he appointed Kennedy chief counsel. In 1957 Kennedy became chief counsel of McClellan's Senate Rackets Committee and achieved national fame during the committee's investigations of teamsters' union leaders David Beck and James Hoffa.
Kennedy was appointed attorney general in 1961 by his brother, President JOHN F. KENNEDY. In this post he distinguished himself by vigorous enforcement of CIVIL RIGHTS?desegregating schools and interstate transportation facilities?and by finally securing the conviction of Hoffa on jury-tampering charges. (See HOFFA V. UNITED STATES.) As the President's closest adviser he exerted more influence on FOREIGN AFFAIRS than most attorneys general, heading the "executive committee" of the National Security Council during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
As a United States senator from New York (1965?1968), Kennedy voted for the GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION but later opposed President LYNDON B. JOHNSON'S conduct of the VIETNAM WAR. He was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist while campaigning for...