Arlen Specter

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Person.png Arlen Specter   C-SPAN IMDB SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Arlen Specter, official Senate photo portrait.jpg
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Died2012-10-14 (Age 82)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materYale Law School
SpouseJoan Levy
Warren Commission proponent of "single bullet" in JFK assassination

Employment.png United States Senator from Pennsylvania

In office
January 3, 1981 - January 3, 2011
Preceded byRichard Schweiker

Employment.png Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee

In office
January 3, 1995 - January 3, 1997
Preceded byDennis DeConcini
Succeeded byRichard Shelby

Employment.png District Attorney of Philadelphia

In office
January 3, 1966 - January 7, 1974

Employment.png Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee

In office
January 3, 2005 - January 3, 2007
Preceded byOrrin Hatch
Succeeded byPatrick Leahy

Employment.png Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

In office
January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2005
Preceded byJay Rockefeller
Succeeded byLarry Craig

Employment.png Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

In office
January 3, 1997 - June 6, 2001
Succeeded byJay Rockefeller

Arlen Specter was an American lawyer, author, and politician who was a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1981 to 2011. Specter was a Democrat from 1951 to 1965,[1][2][3] then a Republican from 1965 until 2009, when he switched back to the Democratic Party. First elected in 1980, he represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate for 30 years.

Involvement with the Warren Commission

Specter worked for Lyndon Johnson's Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy, at the recommendation of Representative Gerald Ford, who was then one of the Commissioners. As an assistant for the commission, he co-wrote the proposal of[4] 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.[5]

According to this theory, the bullet, CE 399, hit JFK in the back of the neck, then passed through the neck without striking any hard object and emerged at the front of his throat. It then entered Connally in the back of the right armpit and slid along his fifth rib, demolishing four inches of the rib before it exited the chest below the right nipple. The bullet then allegedly struck and shattered the radius of Connally's right wrist, one of the hardest bones in the body, located just above the wrist on the dorsal side, then exited at the base of his palm and entered his left thigh just above the knee. CE 399 then traveled about three inches beneath the surface of the thigh, hit the femur, and deposited a lead fragment on the bone. Some time later, with a spasm of reverse kinetic energy, it spontaneously exited the hole in Connally's thigh and neatly tucked itself under the mattress of a stretcher parked in a hallway of the Parkland Memorial Hospital that the report asserted was linked to the wounded governor."

Early Life

Specter was born in Wichita, Kansas, to emigrant Russian/Ukrainian Jewish parents. 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.

Political Career

Specter was assistant counsel for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy and helped formulate the "single-bullet theory". In 1965, Specter was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia, a position that he held until 1973.

In 1976, Specter ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and was defeated by John Heinz. In 1978, he was defeated in the primary for Governor of Pennsylvania by Dick Thornburgh[6]. After several years in private practice with the Philadelphia law firm Dechert, Price & Rhoads, Specter ran again for the U.S. Senate in 1980. This time, he won, and assumed office in January 1981.

During his 30-year Senate career, Specter staked out a spot in the political center,[7][8] and in 2006 selected by Time as one of America's Ten Best Senators.[9]

He voted for the 2003 Iraq War.

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. He chaired that committee until 2001 and again from 2003 to 2005, during the times the Republicans controlled the Senate. He also chaired the Judiciary Committee from 2005 to 2007.

In 2006, he was Specter lost his 2010 re-election bid in the Democratic primary to former U.S. Navy vice admiral Joe Sestak, who then lost to Republican Pat Toomey in the 2010 general election]]. Toomey succeeded Specter on January 3, 2011.

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