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HDA Class of 1993

Peter W. Rodino Jr.

United States Congressman

School of Law–Newark 1937


As a boy, Newark-born Peter W. Rodino Jr. hoped to become a poet or songwriter. Instead, he got a daytime factory job and attended night school. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, was commissioned overseas, and returned with the rank of captain, having earned a Bronze Star. In 1948, he was elected to the U.S. Congress to begin four decades of service. He chaired the Judicial Committee for 16 years, presiding in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon in 1974. He was a relentless advocate for civil rights, primarily with concern for the poor. He wrote the Voting Rights Act Extension and the Victim and Witness Protection and Assistance Act. He cosponsored the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which established the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. He was awarded the Rutgers Medal and was a distinguished visiting professor at the School of Law at Seton Hall, where the library is named after him. Gerald M. Pomper, professor emeritus of politics at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers, features Rodino as an American hero in the book Ordinary Heroes and American Democracy (2004). Rodino died in 2005 at age 95.


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