(CN) – William Saxbe, whom President Nixon appointed as attorney general after the “Saturday night massacre,” which failed to prevent Nixon’s impeachment, died Tuesday at his home in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. Saxbe, who then oversaw Nixon’s impeachment, was 94.
The Saturday Night Massacre, of Oct. 20, 1973, came when U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused Nixon’s order to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who had just subpoenaed Nixon, seeking the taped Oval Office conversations that ultimately undid the president. Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox.
Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus refused, and quit too. So Nixon ordered Solicitor General Robert Bork to fire Cox, and Bork did it.
President Reagan nominated Bork for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, but the Senate rejected him, and “to Bork” became a verb.