BY HUGO TORRES
Harvard Law School alumni scored numerous victories in congressional races last week, bringing to 21 the number of members of Congress who graduated from HLS. Barack Obama ’91 made the biggest headlines as he won the open senate seat in Illinois by a landslide. Obama originally faced off against another alum, Jack Ryan, who dropped out of the race due to a scandal surrounding his sexual activities with his former wife. Obama served as president of the Harvard Law Review while at HLS and worked as a community activist in Chicago prior to his run for the Senate.
With the re-election of fellow alums Michael Crapo ’77 (R-Idaho), Russell Feingold ’79 (D-Wis.), and Charles Schumer ’74 (D-N.Y.), as well as continuing terms of Elizabeth Dole ’65 (R-N.C.), James Jeffords ’62 (I-Vt.), Carl Levin ’59 (D-Mich.), Jack Reed ’82 (D-R.I.), Paul Sarbanes ’60 (D-Maryland), and Ted Stevens ’50 (R-Alaska), HLS alums currently make up 10% of the Senate, solidifying the fact that a Harvard Law degree is a good investment in having a political future.
Of the ten HLS alumni currently serving in the House of Representatives, all of them won re-election, with John Barrow ’79 (D-Ga) winning against an incumbent to bring the number of HLS alums in the House to 11. Barrow will be joining fellow alums Tom Allen ’74 (D-Maine), James Cooper ’80 (D-Tenn.), Christopher Cox ’76 (R-Calif.), Artur Davis ’93 (D-Ala.), Barney Frank ’77 (D-Mass.), Jane Harman ’69 (D-Calif.), Sander Levin ’57 (D-Mich.), Thomas Petri ’65 (R-Wis.), Brad Sherman ’79 (D-Calif.), and Adam Schiff ’85 (D-Calif.).
To the dismay of many Democrats, another alum made news due to his run for president. Ralph Nader ’58, a former editor-in-chief of the Record, made headlines in 2000 when Al Gore lost Florida by a narrow margin that many attributed to Nader’s candidacy. Despite pleas from liberals, Nader ran once again, overcoming legal challenges in many states to get on the ballot, including one in Florida in which Professor Laurence Tribe delivered arguments against Nader. This year, Nader failed to garner enough votes to make a difference in either Florida or Ohio, two key battleground states.