Arlen Specter, United States Senator, Died at 82

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Dead, Arlen Specter October 14, 2012, he was a United States Senator from Pennsylvania.

Specter was a Democrat from 1951 to 1965, then a Republican from 1965 until 2009, when he switched back to the Democratic Party.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, to emigrant Russian Jewish parents on February 12, 1930, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and served with the United States Air Force during the Korean War.

Specter later graduated from Yale Law School and opened a law firm with Marvin Katz, who would later become a federal judge.

Specter served as assistant counsel for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy and helped devise the “single bullet theory”.

In 1953, he married Joan Levy.

In 1979, she was elected to one of the two allotted minority party at-large seats on the Philadelphia City Council.

She held the seat for four terms, until she was defeated for re-election in 1995 by Frank Rizzo, Jr.. The couple had two sons.

Specter graduated from Yale Law School in 1956, while serving as editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Afterward, Specter opened a law practice, Specter & Katz, with Marvin Katz, who served as a Federal District Court Judge in Philadelphia, until his death in October 2010.

As an assistant for the commission, he co-wrote the proposal of the “single bullet theory,” which suggested the non-fatal wounds to Kennedy and wounds to Texas Governor John Connally were caused by the same bullet.

This was a crucial assertion for the Warren Commission, since if the two had been wounded by separate bullets within such a short time frame, that would have demonstrated the presence of a second assassin and therefore a conspiracy.

In 1988, he co-sponsored an amendment to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in the rental, sale, marketing, and financing of the nation’s housing.

The amendment strengthened the ability of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to enforce the Fair Housing Act and expanded the protected classes to include disabled persons and families with children.

In 1998 and 1999, Specter criticized the Republican Party for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Believing that Clinton had not received a fair trial, Specter cited Scots law to render a verdict of “not proven” on Clinton’s impeachment.

However, his verdict was recorded as “not guilty” in the Senate records.

He relished the decades he spent on the Judiciary Committee.

He enraged conservatives in 1987 by helping to derail Judge Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court and then delighted them four years later by backing Justice Thomas.

The Thomas confirmation nearly cost Mr. Specter his Senate seat; even now, millions of American women remain furious with him for his aggressive questioning of Anita F. Hill, a law professor who had accused Justice Thomas of sexual harassment when they worked together at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

He won his first election to the Senate in 1980 and, as he recounted in his 2000 autobiography, “Passion for Truth,” immediately began courting Senator Strom Thurmond, the deeply conservative South Carolina Republican who was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, seeking a seat on the panel.

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