Robert P. Griffin

Robert Griffin
Senate Minority Whip
In office
September 7, 1969  January 3, 1977
Leader Hugh Scott
Preceded by Hugh Scott
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
May 11, 1966  January 3, 1979
Preceded by Patrick McNamara
Succeeded by Carl Levin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1957  May 10, 1966
Preceded by Ruth Thompson
Succeeded by Guy Vander Jagt
Personal details
Born Robert Paul Griffin
(1923-11-06)November 6, 1923
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died April 16, 2015(2015-04-16) (aged 91)
Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Children Richard
Education Central Michigan University (BA)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1943–1946
Unit 71st Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II

Robert Paul Griffin (November 6, 1923 – April 16, 2015) was a Republican U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan and Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Early life

Griffin was born in Detroit, Michigan and attended public schools in Garden City and Dearborn. During the Second World War, he enlisted in the 71st Infantry Division in 1943 and spent fourteen months in Europe. After the war, he graduated from Central Michigan College (now Central Michigan University) at Mount Pleasant in 1947. He received a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1950. He commenced the practice of law in Traverse City.


Griffin was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 9th congressional district in 1956, unseating incumbent Ruth Thompson in the Republican primary. Griffin served in the House during the Eighty-fifth United States Congress as well as the four succeeding Congresses, a period spanning January 3, 1957 until his resignation May 10, 1966. Griffin was appointed by Michigan Governor George Romney on May 11, 1966 to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Patrick V. McNamara.

On November 8, 1966, Griffin was elected to a full six-year term, defeating former Governor Soapy Williams by a 56% to 44% margin. Six years later, in 1972, he was reelected after winning a tough race against state Attorney General Frank J. Kelley, and served as a Senator from May 11, 1966, to January 2, 1979. During his more than 12 years in the Senate, Griffin served as Republican Whip from 1969 to 1977.

In 1968, Griffin led a successful filibuster against the nomination of Supreme Court Associate Justice Abe Fortas to be elevated to the position of Chief Justice, charging President (and former Senate Majority Leader) Lyndon B. Johnson with cronyism, noting the close relationship between the two. Fortas resigned his Associate Justice seat in May 1969 when it was discovered Fortas had been paid a $20,000 a year retainer by Louis Wolfson, a close friend and former client, since 1966.

Griffin was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1978, narrowly defeated by former Detroit City Council president Carl Levin. Later, Griffin served as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court from 1987 to 1994. His son, Richard Allen Griffin, was a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals from 1989 to 2005, when he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

During the elder Griffin's first Senate campaign in 1966, a suburban Detroit rock band, Doug Brown and the Omens, released a promotional flexidisc in support of Griffin's candidacy. The song, "Give Bob The Ball" (which extolled Griffin's "youth and experience") has been included on the garage rock compilation album Friday At The Hideout.

Personal life

A resident of Traverse City, Griffin died on April 16, 2015, aged 91.[1][2]


  • Griffin, Robert P. "The Landrum-Griffin Act: Twelve Years of Experience in Protecting Employee Rights." Georgia Law Review 5 (summer 1971): 622–42
  • Griffin, Robert P. "Rules and Procedure of the Standing Committees." In We Propose: A Modern Congress, edited by Mary McInnis, pp. 37–53. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.


  1. Shepardson, David (April 17, 2015). "Former Michigan U.S. Sen. Griffin dies at 91". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  2. Hevesi, Dennis (April 17, 2015). "Robert P. Griffin Dies at 91; Michigan Senator Urged Nixon to Quit". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ruth Thompson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Guy Vander Jagt
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Patrick McNamara
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Michigan
Served alongside: Philip Hart, Don Riegle
Succeeded by
Carl Levin
Preceded by
Hugh Scott
Senate Minority Whip
Succeeded by
Ted Stevens
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alvin Morell Bentley
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
(Class 2)

1966, 1972, 1978
Succeeded by
Jack R. Lousma
Preceded by
Hugh Scott
Senate Republican Whip
Succeeded by
Ted Stevens
Preceded by
Everett Dirksen
Gerald Ford
Response to the State of the Union address
Served alongside: Howard Baker, George H. W. Bush, Peter Dominick, Gerald Ford, Mel Laird, Bob Mathias, George Murphy, Chuck Percy, Dick Poff, Al Quie, Charlotte Reid, Hugh Scott, Bill Steiger, John Tower
Title next held by
Donald Fraser, Scoop Jackson, Mike Mansfield, John McCormack, Patsy Mink, Ed Muskie, Bill Proxmire
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