His work ethic and dedication were tested when he was first diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005. Through that ordeal, Arlen kept his humor, his spirit, and his rigorous work schedule. He served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2005 and 2006. I was the ranking Democratic member of the committee during those years and worked collaboratively to make my friend a success and ensured that we treated him fairly. During those years and those that followed, when it was my turn to chair the committee and his to lead the Republican members, we used to joke that we spoke to each other more often than we spoke to our wives, Marcelle and Joan.
Arlen was a fighter. I never knew anyone who worked or fought harder. I think he hoped to fight through his disease one more time.
The history books will note that Arlen Specter was the longest-serving U.S. senator in Pennsylvania history. History should remember Arlen Specter as a person who tried to do what he thought was best for the country and to challenge the ever more constricting litmus test of partisan politics. He represented Pennsylvania and served the nation. Like the Republican senators who have represented Vermont, Arlen is an example to all senators, of any party. He will be missed.
Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.