December 23, 2022
By Sarah B. "Sally" Akins
Atlanta Jewish Times
The Champion, Decatur
To the Editor:
The State Bar of Georgia extends condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of former U.S. Rep. Elliott H. Levitas, retired from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Atlanta, on his passing at the age of 91.
A member of the Georgia Bar since 1955, Rep. Levitas was Georgia’s first Jewish congressman and was known for standing up against racism and for environmental protection. He served 10 years in the Georgia General Assembly, where he became a leading proponent for the development of MARTA, before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 4th Congressional District in 1974.
As an attorney, he helped lead a landmark class-action lawsuit on behalf of 300,000 Native Americans against the federal government in connection with the lands and billions of dollars of Indian trust funds held by the U.S. since the 1880s. In Congress, he chaired a subcommittee investigating the Reagan administration’s efforts to undermine the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency, which led to the firing of dozens of senior officials.
Rep. Levitas also served his country in the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command and as a captain in the Air Force Reserve and was a past chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s South East Region Civil Rights Commission. Among other honors, he received the Thomas B. Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Emory Alumni Association’s Emory Medal and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daily Report.
Rep. Elliott Levitas’ career in law and public service is an inspiration to all Georgia lawyers. We appreciate and will remember his many contributions to the cause of justice in our state.
Sarah B. “Sally” Akins
President, State Bar of Georgia