Arlen Specter
(February 12, 1930 - October 14, 2012

 

After leaving the U.S. Senate after 30 years representing Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter returned to the practice of law, taking on special matters of interest on appellate court arguments, providing strategic advice on federal and state legislation (no lobbying), serving as monitor or receiver following Department of Justice or Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutions, and dealing with complex issues before federal regulatory agencies including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

In addition, he taught about the U.S. Supreme Court as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, published the book Life Among the Cannibals and was writing a retrospective analysis 50 years after the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President Kennedy, where he authored the single bullet theory.

Specter had extensive trial experience, using legal skills honed as a private attorney, Philadelphia district attorney and a senator whose cross-examinations became legendary in his questioning at 14 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, including those of Judge Robert Bork, Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts.

Specter  advised on implementation of the federal health care law and has lectured in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del., on compliance with federal regulations.

Arlen Specter was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, with The New York Times noting, “… Mr. Specter is widely regarded as the Senate’s brightest legal mind.” He was selected by Time magazine during his last term in office as one of the nation’s Ten Best Senators. Locally, the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association in 2001 honored Specter with its prestigious Justice Michael A. Musmanno Award, given annually to a lawyer or legislator who has advocated for the rights of victims.

Specter, who won a reputation for independence during his lengthy Senate career, wrote two other well-received books -- Passion for Truth and Never Give In.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his law degree from Yale Law School, Specter opened a law firm with Marvin Katz, who later became a federal judge. Following several years of private practice, Specter was hired as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and later won his first of many elections to become the city’s district attorney. He won five elections to the U.S. Senate and served from 1981-2010, the longest tenure for any senator from Pennsylvania.

                      
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Arlen Specter 
 




Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy opens 9/11/14: (watch videos) NBC 10; PHL 17
Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy set to open Sept. 11



One Last Thing…
Smerconish says representatives in congress could learn something from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

 


  • In February 2009, Sen. Arlen Specter was one of only three Republicans to vote for passage of President Obama's $838 billion economic stimulus plan. Specter said at the time that the controversial vote would hurt him politically. Indeed, that vote made him unpopular among Pennsylvania Republicans and led to his switch to the Democratic Party and eventual loss of his Senate seat. But Specter said at the time of the vote – and years later – that his vote for the stimulus package was more important, that the measure was critical to the nation’s economic well-being. Today, the stimulus package is considered by many as an action that helped avoid a Depression and one that spurred economic recovery. See The New York Times editorial.

  • The Foundation for Jewish Day Schools of Greater Philadelphia selected six students from local Jewish high schools as Arlen Specter Scholars for the 2013-14 school year. These students qualified for the scholarship by “demonstrating a passion for community service and an intense interest in future government service.” Funding for the needs-based scholarships given as part of the Arlen Specter Scholar Award program is provided by Kline & Specter, P.C., in memory of the late Sen. Specter, who devoted his career to serving the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.