Michael J. Egan

Michael Joseph Egan, Jr. (August 8, 1926 – January 7, 2016) was an American lawyer and politician.

Michael J. Egan
United States Associate Attorney General
In office
Appointed byJimmy Carter
Succeeded byJohn H. Shenefield
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 141st District
In office
January 1966 – January 1969
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 116th District
In office
January 1969 – January 1973
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 25th District
In office
January 1973 – June 1977
Succeeded byJohn Savage
Member of the Georgia State Senate from the 40th District
In office
June 1989 – January 2001
Preceded byPaul Coverdale
Succeeded byRusty Paul
Personal details
Spouse(s)Donna (Cole)
Alma materYale B.S.
Harvard Law School L.L.B.
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service United States Army 1945 - 1947
1950 - 1952
Rank2nd Lieutenant (WW II)
1st Lieutenant (Korea)

Early years and educationEdit

Mike Egan was born to Elise (Robider) and Michael Joseph Egan on August 8, 1926, in Savannah, Georgia.[1] The grandson of an Irish immigrant, the Egans had resided in Savannah for generations. Egan attended elementary school taught by the Marist Brothers.[2] He left home to attended prep school in Portsmouth, Rhode Island at Portsmouth Priory School, and graduated from there in 1945. He never again resided in Savannah.[2] That same year, Egan was drafted into the U.S. Army in the concluding year of World War II and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, serving in the 86th Infantry Division. Egan was discharged in 1947, after the war's end, and enrolled in Yale University, graduating in 1950. With the advent of the Korean War, Egan was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant and recalled to active duty, serving in the 2nd Infantry Division until his discharge in 1952.[2] He then entered Harvard Law School, receiving his law degree in 1955. Returning to Georgia, Egan set up a law practice in Atlanta.[1]

Political careerEdit

Prior to 1965, Georgia politics had been dominated by the Democratic party for nearly 100 years. However, after the 1965 legislative session, a mandated reapportionment took place which began Georgia's transition to two-party representation. A court decision struck down the County Unit System which had been disproportionately favorable to rural Democrats, requiring the General Assembly to re-draw legislative districts. It opened up opportunities for urban Republicans.[1] Egan seized upon that opportunity and ran for political office in 1965 as a Republican in a Metropolitan Atlanta district. Egan was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served from 1966 to 1977.[3][4] In 1977, Egan resigned from the Georgia House of Representatives and began service with the United States Department of Justice when he was appointed to the position of United States Associate Attorney General, by President Jimmy Carter.[5] In 1979, after two years with Justice, Egan resumed his law practice. In 1988, he ran for a seat in the Georgia State Senate in a special election, to replace Senator Paul Coverdell who was appointed to the position of Director of the Peace Corps by President George H.W. Bush on May 2, 1989. Egan was elected to Coverdell's vacated Senate seat in June, 1989. He served in the Senate, representing District 40 in Metropolitan Atlanta from 1989 to 2001.[1][2][6][7] Egan's willingness to occasionally support an unpopular cause, driven to do so by his own set of ethics, won the respect of colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike. He became known as "the conscience of the senate" by his Republican colleagues.[1]

Later yearsEdit

After his legislature career ended, Egan, who had retired from active practice with the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan, continued his affiliation with the firm in "as counsel" capacity. In 2001 he was one of the first people appointed to the newly created Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District by Governor Roy Barnes. Egan also served on the board of the Trust for Public Land.[1]

Michael J. Egan, Jr. died at his home on January 7, 2016, at the age of eighty-nine.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g New Georgia Encyclopedia Mike Egan
  2. ^ a b c d Michael Joseph Egan-obituary
  3. ^ "Members Of The General Assembly Of Georgia - Term 1967 - 1968". State of Georgia. September 1967. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "Members Of The General Assembly Of Georgia - Term 1966". State of Georgia. January 11, 1966. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Members Of The General Assembly of Georgia - 1977-1978 Term". State of Georgia. November 1977. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Georgia General Assembly-Michael J. Egan
  7. ^ "Members Of The General Assembly Of Georgia - Second Session of 1999-2000 Term". State of Georgia. January 2000. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
Legal offices
Preceded by
office established
United States Associate Attorney General
Succeeded by
John H. Shenefield