The Advocates for Human Rights mourns the loss of Walter F. Mondale.
Walter “Fritz” Mondale was a hometown human rights hero. The Advocates for Human Rights honored Mr. Mondale in 2004 for his decades of public service and leadership on human rights issues. Mr. Mondale was an icon of Minnesota’s progressive traditions. Throughout his career – as Minnesota’s Attorney General; as United States Senator; as Vice President of the United States; and as United States Ambassador to Japan – Mr. Mondale’s work reflected a profound respect for human rights, the rule of law, and social justice.
Walter Mondale advocated for the rights of indigent defendants long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. In the Senate, Mr. Mondale was an outspoken advocate for civil rights legislation and the expansion of insurance coverage to include mental health. He brought the issue of affordable housing to national attention and led an investigation into the FBI's abuse of civil liberties. Reinventing the Vice Presidency, he and President Jimmy Carter made human rights an integral part of American foreign policy. When President Bill Clinton nominated Mr. Mondale to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan, he said, “Fritz Mondale is not only someone I consider a friend, but also someone that I and millions of Americans consider a leader of enormous wisdom, courage, compassion and stature. Like his mentor, Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale is a hero to the people of Minnesota, because he embodies the virtues of the Midwest; because he fought so boldly for those things in the United States Senate; and because he never lost the basic values of his childhood and his adulthood after he became a leader on the national and world stage. Fritz Mondale has devoted his entire life to serving our nation and to building bonds of understanding around the world.”