Smerconish says representatives in Congress could learn something from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
"You are never too far ahead to lose and never too far behind to win."
"If you can get people to laugh, you can get people to listen."
"You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."
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 1981-2011, the longest tenure for any senator from Pennsylvania.
IN THE NEWS:
The Arlen Specter Center for Public Service at Philadelphia University was chosen as a recipient of the 2015 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
The award is given to organizations, businesses and projects that exemplify outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation throughout the region. A presentation was set for June 3, 2015 at the Union League in the largest gathering of preservationists in the Philadelphia area.
The center won the award for the $4 million renovation of the Roxboro House, an historic structure which had fallen into disrepair since its construction circa 1800. The building was stabilized while keeping its distinctive semi-octagonal wings.
The university purchased the wood-frame federal-style house around 2006 and the renovated structure was dedicated as the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service in September 2014.
The Roxboro House, located in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, was occupied over the years by some notable Philadelphians, including Caspar Wistar, who published the first American textbook of anatomy in 1811.