Robert P. Griffin
|Senate Minority Whip|
September 7, 1969 – January 3, 1977
|Preceded by||Hugh Scott|
|Succeeded by||Ted Stevens|
|United States Senator|
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
January 3, 1957 – May 10, 1966
|Preceded by||Ruth Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Guy Vander Jagt|
Robert Paul Griffin|
November 6, 1923
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
April 16, 2015 91) (aged|
Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
Central Michigan University (BA)|
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (JD)
|Years of service||1943–1946|
|Unit||71st Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
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.
A resident of Traverse City, Griffin died on April 16, 2015, aged 91.
- 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.
- Shepardson, David (April 17, 2015). "Former Michigan U.S. Sen. Griffin dies at 91". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
- 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.
- United States Congress. "Robert P. Griffin (id: G000465)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Appearances on C-SPAN