From Ohio History Central
William Bart Saxbe was born on June 24, 1916, in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. He grew up in Mechanicsburg and graduated with an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University in 1940. A member of the Ohio National Guard, Saxbe saw military duty in both World War II and the Korean War.
Upon returning from World War II, Saxbe pursued a law degree from The Ohio State University. He graduated in 1948 and immediately began to practice law. While still a law student, Saxbe won election to the Ohio House of Representatives, a position he held from 1947 to 1954. Saxbe was a member of the Republican Party. In 1957, he became Ohio’s attorney general. He served in this capacity from 1957 to 1958, and four years later, he won reelection to this same office, serving from 1963 to 1968.
In 1968, Saxbe won election as one of Ohio’s United States Senators. He remained a senator from January 1969 until January 1974, when he resigned to become the United States Attorney General. President Richard Nixon selected Saxbe for this office, and the new attorney general had to deal with the Watergate Scandal. Saxbe hoped to use the attorney general’s office to eliminate business trusts, but President Nixon refused to assist the attorney general in these efforts. According to Saxbe, “The big problem I had with Nixon was he was so wrapped up in Watergate that I couldn’t get answers from him about things I was working on, like the antitrust cases against AT&T and IBM. He wanted to talk about his problems, and, frankly, I didn’t.” Saxbe remained as attorney general during the first several months of President Gerald Ford’s administration. Saxbe resigned his position in February 1975 to become the United States’ Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to India, a position that he held until 1977.
In 1977, Saxbe returned to civilian life. He resumed his legal practice and worked as a member of the Chester, Willcox & Saxbe law firm in Columbus, Ohio. He eventually left as an active partner in this firm and currently works as a lawyer in Mechanicsburg.