WASHINGTON, DC – Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James released the below statement following the White House ceremony where President Donald Trump awarded Edwin Meese III the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his long and distinguished career of service to our country, including as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan.
Meese is The Heritage Foundation’s Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus and namesake of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
“I’ve known and worked with Attorney General Ed Meese for nearly two decades at The Heritage Foundation and I feel there isn’t a recipient more worthy of this honor.
“Ed has lived the life of an authentic public servant, routinely putting duty to the country ahead of his own interests. From serving as one of Ronald Reagan’s most trusted advisers and helping to foster the Reagan Revolution to founding The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Ed has shown the American people the kind of successes that can be achieved when conservative principles are put into practice.
“As counselor to President Reagan, Ed was instrumental in the president’s efforts to lower taxes, unleash economic growth, win the Cold War, and restore confidence in America. As attorney general, he led efforts to combat terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking while always holding the Constitution and the rule of law in the highest regard.
“After the Reagan administration, Ed continued his career of service at The Heritage Foundation, working to bring the nation’s legal system back into line with limited government and constitutional principles. He founded and became chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Under his guidance, the center has counseled the White House, Congress, and the Justice Department on critical legal and constitutional questions. The center has also played an influential role in judicial nominations and in preparing lawyers to argue landmark cases before the Supreme Court.
“Today, as Heritage’s Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus, Ed continues his work defending the principles we hold so dear. In addition to being a Heritage employee, he has helped guide this organization as a member of our board of trustees since 2017.
“Ed and I served together as co-chairs of the 2016 presidential transition teams that were tasked with creating the transition plans for the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and information technology services. Ed’s expertise in federal administration helped us to lead teams that, over the course of nearly six months, recruited new senior administration officials, developed goals for each agency, and created operational blueprints for their first 120 days.
“Ed’s entire career has reflected an unwavering commitment to the Constitution, the rule of law, limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. With all that he has accomplished, Ed remains one of the most kind and humble men I have ever known.”