Archibald Cox '34, Loeb University Professor and former Watergate special prosecutor, Saturday became chairman of Common Cause, the Washington-based public interest lobby.
"We need somebody to speak for the general public, to give them a chance to be heard in Washington," Cox said yesterday, adding, "Common Cause serves to remind national decision-makers that everyone must be heard if the whole country is to prosper."
Cox succeeds Nan Waterman and Common Cause founder John Gardner as third head of the organization, begun ten years ago.
"We've got to make our government more responsive to the problems which plague citizens and rebuild their confidence in our country," Cox said.
With a national constituency of over 229,000 members, Cox believes Common Cause is a highly respected citizens lobby with substantial weight behind its efforts to reorganize and reform the national government.
Unsure on Draft
Under his direction, Cox said Common Cause will continue to support public financing for congressional campaigns.
Common Cause also favors limiting Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions and various congressional bills which would set strict standards for the redistricting of legislative seats, which will occur before elections later this year.
Cox said he has not decided whether to include draft registration as an issue in Common Cause's agenda, but added he will poll members before reaching a decision.
Cox intends to concentrate on the executive branch as well, pressing unelected officials to be more responsive to public opinion.
Common Cause is widely known for its efforts to reduce special interest group influence in favor of broader citizen strength in Congress. Cox said he will stress continuing efforts to reform the executive bureaucracy as well.
Cox will probably present testimony to congressional committees rather than the Common Cause staff, which has handled all lobbying since Gardner's semi-retirement. Roger D. Fisher '43, Williston Professor of Law, said yesterday Cox's appointment is especially propitious because of his "tremendous commitment to civic duty."
Fisher said Cox's broad legal experience for the government and his national reputation as an authority on the Constitution were probably factors in his selection.
"Since Common Cause is not primarily a civil rights organization, I don't think the appointment was a political one based on his work in that area," Fisher added.
Cox was fired as Watergate special prosecutor during the "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973. He had refused to cease investigation allegations of misconduct in the Nixon Administration.
As head of Common Cause, Cox's views will once again be heard on Capitol Hill. He believes Common Cause has a "large voice and great influence" on the Hill.
"While we don't get everything we want, any representative or senator would tell you he listened very attentively to Common Cause positions," Cox said