79 Facts About Arlen Specter


Arlen Specter was an American lawyer, author and politician who served as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1981 to 2011.


Arlen Specter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and served with the United States Air Force during the Korean War.


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


In 1965, Arlen Specter was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia, a position that he held until 1973.


Arlen Specter served as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2005 to 2007.


In 2006, Arlen Specter was selected by Time as one of America's Ten Best Senators.


Arlen Specter lost his 2010 re-election bid in the Democratic primary to former US Navy vice admiral Joe Sestak, who then lost to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election.


Arlen Specter died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on October 14,2012.


Arlen Specter was born in Wichita, Kansas, the youngest child of Lillie and Harry Arlen Specter, who grew up in the Bachkuryne village of Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine.


Arlen Specter was Jewish, and wrote in his memoir, Passion for Truth, that his father's family was the only Jewish family in the village.


Arlen Specter said that his father weighed items from his junkyard on a scale owned by Dole's father Doran Dole.


Arlen Specter said his brother Morton and Dole's brother Kenny were contemporaries and friends.


Arlen Specter's father served in the US infantry during World War I, and was badly wounded.


Arlen Specter transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, majored in international relations, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1951.


Arlen Specter said the family moved to Philadelphia when his sister Shirley was of a marriageable age because there were no other Jews in Russell.


Arlen Specter held the seat for four terms, until she was defeated for re-election in 1995 by Frank Rizzo, Jr.


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


In 1965, Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney against his former boss, incumbent James C Crumlish, Jr.


In 1976, Arlen Specter ran in the Republican primary for the US Senate and was defeated by John Heinz.


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


In October 1999, Arlen Specter was one of four Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


Arlen Specter maintained that his comments were a prediction, not a warning.


Arlen Specter met with many conservative Republican senators, and based on assurances he gave them, he was recommended for the Judiciary Committee's chairmanship in late 2004.


Arlen Specter officially assumed that position when the 109th Congress convened on January 4,2005.


Arlen Specter claimed that the changes were added by staff member Brett Tolman.


Arlen Specter was very critical of Bush's wiretapping of US citizens without warrants.


Arlen Specter said that he intended to hold hearings into the matter early in 2006, and had Alberto Gonzales appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer for the program.


Arlen Specter, a devout and longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan, wondered if there was a link between the tapes and their Super Bowl victory over the Eagles in 2005.


In December 2008, Arlen Specter was involved in a controversy as a result of telling "Polish jokes" at New York's Rainbow Room while speaking at the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Club.


Arlen Specter voted in favor of the Senate's version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 10,2009; he was one of only three Republicans to break ranks with the party and support the bill, which was favored by President Barack Obama and was unanimously supported by the Democratic senators.


Arlen Specter was instrumental in ensuring that the act allocated an additional $10 billion to the National Institutes of Health over the next two years.


In late April 2009, facing a tough Republican primary, Arlen Specter switched to the Democratic party which put Democrats on the "precipice" of a 60-seat majority.


Arlen Specter was then denied seniority on Senate committees by his Democratic colleagues.


In October 2009, Arlen Specter called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which he had supported in 1996.


Arlen Specter was succeeded by Republican US Representative Pat Toomey, who won the general election against Sestak.


Arlen Specter was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1995, when the Republicans gained control of the Senate, until 1997, when he became chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs.


Arlen Specter chaired that committee until 2001 and again from 2003 to 2005, during the times the Republicans controlled the Senate.


Arlen Specter chaired the Judiciary Committee from 2005 to 2007.


In 1980, Arlen Specter became the Republican nominee for Senate when Republican incumbent Richard Schweiker announced his retirement.


Arlen Specter was later re-elected in 1986,1992,1998, and 2004, despite 1992 and 1998 being bad years for Republicans.


Arlen Specter ran for re-election in 2010, for the first time as a Democrat, but was defeated in the primary.


On March 31,1995, Arlen Specter announced his candidacy for President of the United States, to challenge the incumbent Bill Clinton.


Arlen Specter entered the race as an alternative to the stereotypical religious conservative image.


Arlen Specter was critical of Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, and Ralph Reed, saying all three were far too conservative.


Arlen Specter's campaign focused on balancing the federal budget, strict crime laws, and establishing relations with North Korea.


Arlen Specter's candidacy was not expected to succeed in winning the Republican nomination due to the overwhelmingly large number of social conservatives in the Republican Party.


On November 23,1995, before the start of the primaries, Arlen Specter suspended his campaign to endorse Kansas Senator Bob Dole.


In 2004, Arlen Specter faced a challenge in the Republican primary election from conservative Congressman Pat Toomey, whose campaign theme was that Arlen Specter was not conservative enough.


Once Arlen Specter defeated the challenge from the right, he was able to enjoy great support from independents and some Democrats in his race against US Representative Joe Hoeffel, the Democratic nominee.


Arlen Specter was up for re-election to the Senate in 2010, and expressed his plans to run again.


On March 18,2009, Arlen Specter said that he was not considering running as an independent.


However, on April 28,2009, Arlen Specter stated that, "As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party".


Arlen Specter said that he was switching party affiliation and would run as a Democrat in the 2010 election.


Arlen Specter was opposed to same-sex marriage, but was opposed to a federal ban and supported civil unions.


Arlen Specter became opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act, which he once supported.


Arlen Specter voted in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress.


Arlen Specter voted against the Brady Bill, background checks at gun shows, the ban on assault weapons, and trigger locks for handguns.


Arlen Specter supported affirmative action, and voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1991, receiving a 76 percent rating from the NAACP in 2008.


Arlen Specter voted in favor of the bill establishing Martin Luther King Jr.


Arlen Specter voted against the nomination of Robert Bork to the US Supreme Court, but voted in favor of the nominations of Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito.


Arlen Specter was a leading supporter of the US Public Service Academy.


On immigration, Arlen Specter supported a "pathway to citizenship" and a "guest worker program", which opponents call amnesty.


Arlen Specter introduced Senate bill S 2611 on April 6,2006, which was passed by the Senate on May 25,2006, before reaching a stalemate in the House.


Arlen Specter believed a single-payer healthcare system should not be "taken off the table", according to an interview he had with John King on CNN.


On health care reform, Arlen Specter was a co-sponsor of the Healthy Americans Act, a proposal he supported during both the 110th and 111th Congresses.


Arlen Specter voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the healthcare bill passed through the Senate by every Democratic senator, on a party-line vote.


Arlen Specter voted for cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007.


In early 2009, Arlen Specter announced he would not be voting for cloture on the same act in the 111th Congress.


Arlen Specter then introduced legislation in April 2010 to amend the federal Wiretap Act to clarify that it is illegal to capture silent visual images inside another person's home.


The Jewish daily newspaper The Forward reported in the wake of the July 2009 organ trafficking scandal in the US involving Rabbi Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn that an Organ Trafficking Prohibition Act of 2009, sponsored by Arlen Specter, had yet to be officially introduced in the US.


On February 16,2011, Arlen Specter wrote a letter to President Obama.


On December 21,2011, Arlen Specter donated to Philadelphia University nearly 2,700 boxes of historical papers and memorabilia dating from his career as a Philadelphia district attorney to his service as a United States senator, including materials associated with his role as assistant counsel on the Warren Commission.


On February 16,2005, Arlen Specter announced that he had been diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.


Senator John Sununu shaved his head to show solidarity with Arlen Specter, who was temporarily bald while undergoing chemotherapy.


Arlen Specter was diagnosed six weeks earlier with a new form of the disease.


Arlen Specter died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, aged 82, on October 14,2012, at his home in Philadelphia.


All the specifics and actions taken for each individual piece of legislation that Arlen Specter either sponsored or cosponsored can be viewed in detail there.


Arlen Specter pledged to support the legislation at the time it was initially introduced and entered into the Senate record, rather than later in the legislative process.


Arlen Specter has withdrawn his one-time support of legislation by adding his cosponsorship to introduced legislation a total of five times during the time this statistic first started being compiled by them:.