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Peter W. Rodino

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Peter W. Rodino

Peter W. Rodino, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Fred A. Hartley, Jr.
Succeeded by Donald M. Payne
House Judiciary Committee Chairman
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Emanuel Celler
Succeeded by Jack Brooks
Personal details
Born Pelligrino Rodino, Jr.
(1909-06-07)June 7, 1909
Newark, New Jersey
Died May 7, 2005(2005-05-07) (aged 95)
West Orange, New Jersey
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marianna (Ann) Stango (1941–1980) (her death)
Joy Judelson (1989–2005) (his death)
Relations Pelligrino Rodino, Sr. (Father)
Giuseppina (Margaret) Girard (Mother)
Children Margaret (Peggy) Stanziale (Mrs. Charles Stanziale)
Peter W. Rodino, Jr.
Alma mater Rutgers University
Rutgers University Law School
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic
Awards Bronze Star
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War II

Peter Wallace Rodino, Jr. (June 7, 1909 – May 7, 2005) was a Democratic United States congressman from New Jersey from 1949 to 1989. Rodino rose to prominence as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, where he oversaw the impeachment hearings that led to the resignation of president Richard Nixon.


  • Early life 1
  • State assembly candidate 2
  • U.S. Congressman 3
    • Democratic primary challenges 3.1
  • Legislative record 4
  • U.S. Senate campaign 5
  • House leadership 6
  • House Judiciary Committee chairman 7
  • Watergate 8
  • Vice presidential candidate 9
  • Family 10
  • Retirement 11
  • Electoral history 12
    • New Jersey General Assembly (1940) 12.1
    • U.S. House of Representatives 12.2
      • General elections 12.2.1
      • Primary elections 12.2.2
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Early life

Rodino was born Pelligrino Rodino, Jr. in the North Ward of Newark, New Jersey on June 7, 1909. His father, Pelligrino Rodino (1883–1957), was born in Atripalda, a town in the province of Avellino, in a region of southern Italy known as Campania. Rodino Sr. emigrated to the United States around 1900 and worked as a machinist in a leather factory, as a cabinet maker and carpenter, and for thirty years as a toolmaker General Motors (Hyatt Roller Bearing). His mother, Giuseppina (Margaret) Girard (1884–1913), was born in Newark. Pelligrino and Giuseppina were married in 1900. Pelligrino Rodino, Jr., whose name was later Americanized to Peter, was the youngest of three children.[1] Giuseppina Rodino died in 1913 of tuberculosis, when Rodino was 4;[2] his father later married Antonia (Gemma) DeRobertis (Died 1944), whose first husband, Michael Paladino, died.[1]

He attended McKinley Grammar School, graduating in February 1922. He attended Barringer High School. He went to college at the University of Newark and earned a law degree at the Newark Law School, both are now part of Rutgers University.[3] His speech was badly affected by a childhood bout of diphtheria, and he conducted his own speech therapy, spending hours "reciting Shakespeare through a mouth full of marbles". Rodino endured ten years of menial jobs while studying at night for a law degree at the New Jersey Law School. He worked for the Public Service Railroad and Transportation Company. Rodino worked as an insurance salesman and at Pennsylvania Railroad. He also worked at Ronson Art Metal Works making cigarette lighters. He taught public speaking and citizenship in Newark. He also worked as a songwriter.[1]

Rodino served in the administration of president Franklin Roosevelt as an appeals agent for the Newark Draft Board. While the post exempted Rodino from the draft, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. He served from 1942 to 1946. Rodino attended the British Officers Training University of England and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was assigned to the First Armored Division in North Africa, and later in Italy with the Military Mission Italian Army, a joint Allied force. Due to his fluency in Italian, he was named the adjutant to the Commanding General of Rome.[1] He earned a Bronze Star for service in Italy and North Africa. he was discharged with the rank of Captain.[3]

State assembly candidate

In 1940, Rodino made his first bid for public office as a Democratic candidate for the New Jersey General Assembly from Essex County.[4] He lost the General Election.[5]

U.S. Congressman

In 1946, after World War II, Rodino ran for Congress against nine-term Republican incumbent Fred A. Hartley, Jr. Hartley was nationally prominent as the House sponsor of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, known as Taft-Hartley. Hartley won by 5,730 votes, 44,619 (52.48%) to 38,889 (45.74%).[6]

Hartley declined to seek re-election in 1948 and Rodino became a candidate for the open 10th district congressional seat. He was unopposed in the Democratic Primary.[7] In the General Election, he faced Republican Anthony Giuliano, who had served as a State Assemblyman and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Rodino had the benefit of running on a ticket with president Harry Truman, who carried Essex and Hudson counties. Truman, campaigning in Newark on October 6, 1948, endorsed Rodino, saying: "That means that here in Newark you're going to send Peter Rodino to the Congress, and Hugh Addonizio and Harry Dudkin to the House of Representatives. Every one of these men deserves your support. They will fight your battle in Washington, and how that fight needs to be made nobody knows better than I do. They will fight your battle there, and men like them all over the Nation will be fighting that battle—and will win that battle if you're behind us—the battle for the people, a fight which started with Jefferson, continued with Jackson, was won by Franklin Roosevelt in 1934."[8] Rodino won by 5,800 votes, 58,668 (50.72%) to 52,868 (45.70%).[9]

Seeking a second term in 1950, Rodino faced Republican William H. Rawson, a six-term Essex County Freeholder.[10] Rodino won by an impressive 21,819 votes, 60,432 (61.02%) to 38,613 (38.99%).[11]

In 1952, Rodino faced a national political environment that was decidedly Republican, and GOP presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower carried Rodino's district by a large margin.[12] But Rodino won a third term by 20,872 votes against Republican Alexander Matturri, 78,612 (56.87%) to 57,740 (41.77%).[13]

Rodino defeated Republican William E. McGlynn, a two-term Councilman from Kearny, New Jersey who described himself as a "middle of the road Eisenhower Republican"[14] by 26,328 votes, 62,384 (63.37%) to 36,056 (36.63%) in 1954.[15]

In 1956, Rodino was re-elected by 15,550 votes, 71,311 (56.12%) to 55,761 (43.88%),[16] against Republican G. George Addonizio, a first time candidate who had the same last name as a popular Democratic Congressman who was seeking re-election in a neighboring Essex County congressional district; George Addonizio and

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Fred A. Hartley, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Donald M. Payne
Political offices
Preceded by
Emanuel Celler
New York
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Jack Brooks
  • Peter W. Rodino at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Picture on cover of Time Magazine
  • Rodino and Eleonor Roosevelt during the 1946 congressional campaign against Fred Hartley
  • Rodino campaigning with Harry Truman in 1952
  • Rodino with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Rodino standing with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as President Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act

External links

  • Bernstein, Adam (2005). "Rep. Peter Rodino, 95; Presided Over Nixon Impeachment Hearing". The Washington Post May 8: C11.
  • Kaufman, Michael T (2005). "Peter W. Rodino Dies at 96; Led House Inquiry on Nixon". The New York Times. May 8.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Rodino Archives". Seton Hall University. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wood, Anthony R.; Horvitz, Paul (8 May 2005). "Ex-congressman Peter Rodino, 95, dies The N.J. Democrat headed impeachment hearings that led Nixon to resign.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Kaufman, Michael T. "Peter W. Rodino Dies at 96; Led House Inquiry on Nixon", The New York Times, May 8, 2005. Accessed November 25, 2007. "Peter W. Rodino Jr., an obscure congressman from the streets of Newark who impressed the nation by the dignity, fairness, and firmness he showed as chairman of the impeachment hearings that induced Richard M. Nixon to resign as president, died yesterday at his home in West Orange, N.J. He was 95."
  4. ^ "Results of the Primary Election" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. State of New Jersey. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Legislative Manual of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: Joseph J. Gribbons. 1941. 
  6. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Results of the Primary Election" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. State of New Jersey. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "PARTY FIGHTS MARK JERSEY PRIMARIES; Contests in Half of the State's 14 Congressional Districts Draw Wide Attention Record Hudson Vote Seen Contests in Essex County". New York Times. 16 April 1950. 
  11. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Legislative Manual of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: Joseph J. Gribbons. 1953. 
  13. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Feinberg, Alexander (11 October 1954). "New Dealer Bidding for His 4th Term in Intensive Campaign". New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Honig, Milton (15 October 1956). "Rodino Rival in 10th Making First Race for Elective Office; Rodino's Majorities Mount Both Campaign Vigorously". New York Times. 
  18. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Wright, George Cable (5 October 1964). "Rodino Opposed by a Strong Backer of Goldwater in 10th". New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Foe Hopes to Oust Rodino in 10th With Big Ad Campaign". New York Times. 9 October 1970. 
  22. ^ Ferretti, Fred (2 October 1972). "Confident Rodino Campaigns in Newark". New York Times. 
  23. ^ a b "Rodino Is Said to Weigh House Bid in 11th District". New York Times. 20 April 1972. 
  24. ^ Sullivan, Ronald (13 April 1972). "Jersey Redistricting Plan Drawn Up by U.S. Court; Redistricting Plan for Jersey Drawn Up by Federal Court". New York Times. 
  25. ^ Ferretti, Fred (31 May 1972). "3 Blacks Vie for Rodino's Seat in Newark Race; 3 Blacks Vie for Rodino's House Seat". New York Times. 
  26. ^ "1972 Primary Election Results" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. 
  27. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (25 May 1980). "Rodino's Battle One of His Toughest; Rodino Facing His Toughest Fight". New York Times. 
  28. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  29. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ Edge, Wally (3 June 2007). "Twenty years before Watergate, Rodino almost gave up his House seat to run statewide". Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  32. ^ Wright, George Cable (7 February 1954). "2 DISPUTES WORRY G. O. P. IN JERSEY; Leaders Want Hendrickson to Quit Senate Race, Also Early Peace in Union County". New York Times. 
  33. ^ "DEMOCRATS NAME HOWELL IN JERSEY; Representative Expected to Accept Senate Nomination by Tomorrow Morning". New York Times. 5 March 1954. 
  34. ^ Bernstein, Adam (8 May 2005). "PETER RODINO JR. 1909–2005 / Congressman who led Watergate hearings dies / New Jersey lawmaker reluctantly oversaw Nixon impeachment". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Shipkowski, Bruce (8 May 2005). "Peter Rodino Jr., 96; led hearing on Nixon impeachment". Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  36. ^ All Things Considered (8 May 2005). "Watergate Figure Peter Rodino Dies". National Public Radio (NPR). 
  37. ^ "48 in the House Support Rodino for Vice President". New York Times. 23 July 1976. 
  38. ^ McGrory, Mary (28 June 1976). "Rodino stacks up well for vice president". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  39. ^ Mohr, Charles (13 July 1976). "Carter Ends Interviews on Running Mate; Carter Ends Interviews on Running Mate and Says That He May Decide by Tonight". New York Times. 
  40. ^ Apple, R.W. (15 July 1976). "Carter Wins the Democratic Nomination; Reveals Vice-Presidential Choice Today". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  41. ^ "Our Campaigns". Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  42. ^ "Mrs. Peter W. Rodino". New York Times. 4 December 1980. 
  43. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (15 March 1988). "Rodino Says He Will Retire In January". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  44. ^ "Veterans Of Watergate Urge Restraint". Chicago Tribune. 24 January 1998. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 


1986 Peter W. Rodino 25,136
1986 Donald M. Payne 15,216
1986 Pearl Hart 967
1986 Arthur S. Jones 931
1984 Peter W. Rodino 42,109
1984 Arthur S. Jones 10,294
1984 Thelma I. Tyree 2,779
1982 Peter W. Rodino 28,587
1982 Alan Bowser 5,010
1980 Peter W. Rodino 26,943
1980 Donald M. Payne 9,825
1980 Golden E. Johnson 5,316
1980 Russell E. Fox 1,251
1974 Peter W. Rodino 19,121
1974 Michael Giordano 2,330
1972 Peter W. Rodino 37,650
1972 William S. Hart 24,118
1972 George C. Richardson 3,086
1972 Wilbert J. Kornegay 718
Year Democrat Votes
1966 Peter W. Rodino 1,027
1966 William J. Clark 1,027

Primary elections

Year Democrat Votes Republican Votes
1946 Peter W. Rodino 38,889 Fred A. Hartley, Jr. (Incumbent) 44,619
1948 Peter W. Rodino 58,668 Anthony Giuliano 52,868
1950 Peter W. Rodino 60,432 William H. Rawson 38,613
1952 Peter W. Rodino 78,612 Alexander Matturri 57,740
1954 Peter W. Rodino 62,384 William E. McGlynn 36,056
1956 Peter W. Rodino 71,311 G. George Addonizio 55,761
1958 Peter W. Rodino 60,482 G. George Addonizio 32,946
1960 Peter W. Rodino 84,859 Alphonse A. Miele 43,238
1962 Peter W. Rodino 62,616 Charles A. Baretski 22,819
1964 Peter W. Rodino 92,488 Raymond W. Schroeder 31,306
1966 Peter W. Rodino 71,699 Earl Harris 36,508
1968 Peter W. Rodino 89,109 Celestino Clemente 47,989
1970 Peter W. Rodino 71,003 Griffith H. Jones 30,460
1972 Peter W. Rodino 94,308 Kenneth C. Miller 23,949
1974 Peter W. Rodino 53,094 John R. Taliaferro 9,936
1976 Peter W. Rodino 88,245 Tony Grandison 88,245
1978 Peter W. Rodino 55,074 John L. Pelt 8,066
1980 Peter W. Rodino 76,154 Everett J. Jennings 11,778
1982 Peter W. Rodino 76,684 Timothy Lee, Jr. 14,551
1984 Peter W. Rodino 111,244 Howard E. Berkeley 21,712
1986 Peter W. Rodino 46,666 Unopposed

General elections

U.S. House of Representatives

Winner Party Votes Loser Party Votes
Samuel S. Ferster Republican 177,775 John J. Francis Democrat 136,241
Dominic A. Cavicchia Republican 177,314 Mary C. O'Malley Democrat 135,862
Edgar Williamson, Jr. Republican 176,145 Joseph N. Braff Democrat 134,503
Frank S. Hargrave Republican 175,359 John A. Couch, Jr. Democrat 132,699
Olive C. Sanford Republican 175,280 Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Democrat 132,393
Frank S. Platts Republican 174,989 James A. Callahan Democrat 132,262
Lester E. Mahr Republican 174,580 William J. Brine Democrat 131,947
Adolph Wegrocki Republican 172,400 Peter Niemiec Democrat 131,146
C. Milford Orben Republican 171,242 Roger M. Yancey Democrat 129,866
Jacob S. Glickenhaus Republican 171,008 William R. Connors, Jr. Democrat 129,270
Constance W. Hand Republican 170,522 Norman B. Grobert Democrat 128,873
R. Graham Huntington Republican 170,182 Mercedes Uth Democrat 125,898
[5]12 Seats Elected At-Large from Essex County

New Jersey General Assembly (1940)

Electoral history

He died on May 7, 2005, of congestive heart failure at the age of 95 at his home in West Orange, New Jersey.[3] He lay in state at Seton Hall Law Chapel and the funeral mass was celebrated at St. Lucy's Church in Newark. Burial took place at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, New Jersey.[1]

In 1998, when the House was considering articles of impeachment against president Bill Clinton, Rodino urged congressmen to be "cautious, restrained and non-partisan when weighing whether such an investigation is warranted". He said: "Even the thought of impeachment is a question that should be considered ever so judiciously, especially when it comes to an issue that wracks a country, a constitutional crisis, impeachment is not to be considered lightly."[44]

After leaving congress, he became a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law at Seton Hall University Law School in Newark. He was a member of the faculty from 1989 until his death in 2005. "Between 1990 and 1999, he taught two seminars each year, providing students a unique opportunity to actively participate in research, study, and discussion of some of the many areas of law affected by his time in public office. Enrollment was limited to 25 students, and the courses were fully subscribed. Most of the term was taken up with traditional small class discussion of pertinent issues. Each student also undertook a research paper on a specific topic, with the research results being presented in the seminar in the latter stages of the term. Critique and commentary was provided by Professor Rodino. The first term seminar concentrated on Civil Rights and Immigration, including in particular the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act. The second term seminar dealt with Watergate and the Iran Contra Affair. These courses were co-taught with Professors Gil Carrasco and E. Judson Jennings," according to Seton Hall. "While at Seton Hall, Professor Rodino participated in many significant programs and events, including a Celebration of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. He also wrote several important law review articles on the Ninth Amendment, the Special Prosecutor Statute, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Presidency."[1]

On November 4, 1978, vice president Walter Mondale attended the dedication of the Peter W. Rodino Federal Building in Newark.

On March 15, 1988, Rodino announced that he would retire from Congress after 20 terms. "Our journey together has been a long and fulfilling one," Rodino said in a statement.[43] He left the House in January 1989 and was replaced by Payne, who became the first African American Congressman from New Jersey.


Rodino married Marianna (Ann) Stango in 1941. They had two children: Margaret (Peggy) Stanziale and Peter W. Rodino III. Peggy Stanziale married Charles A. Stanziale, Jr., whose father had served as a Democratic State Assemblyman in 1932 and later as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Marianna Rodino died on December 3, 1980 at age 70.[42] In 1989, he married Joy Judelson, who had worked on Rodino's congressional staff from 1963 until 1969, when she left to go to law school. They were married until his death in 2005.


[41] In 1972, 57 delegates to the Democratic National Convention voted for Rodino for vice president instead of

Instead, Rodino was asked to give the nominating speech for Carter at the Democratic National Convention in New York. "With honest talk and plain truth, Jimmy Carter has appealed to the American people. His heart is honest, and the people will believe him. His purpose is right, and the people will follow him," Rodino said. "As he has brought a united South back into the Democratic Party, he will bring a united Democratic Party back into the leadership of America and a united America back to a position of respect and esteem in the eyes of the world."[40]

After Kirbo finished vetting possible candidates, Carter created a short list of seven—Rodino, and Senators Walter Mondale, Frank Church, Henry Jackson, John Glenn, Edmund Muskie, and Adlai Stevenson III. In July, before Carter made his choice, Rodino withdrew his name from consideration. He cited his age (67) and a recurring case of glaucoma that he felt might strain his ability to campaign.[39]

Rodino emerged as a possible running mate for Jimmy Carter in 1976. About 50 House members signed a petition urging Carter to pick Rodino,[37] and then-House Majority Leader Tip O'Neill told Charles Kirbo (the Atlanta lawyer that was heading up Carter's vice presidential search) that Rodino would be his best choice. O'Neill said that Rodino was a Catholic from a northeastern state who could bring middle class Italians into the Democratic fold.[38]

Vice presidential candidate

Rodino "was able to impose discipline on the staff. He insisted that there be no leaks to the press. There were no leaks to the press. He insisted that it be bipartisan, it not be partisan. There was no partisanship on the staff. In fact, it was remarkably non-partisan. And that is the result of good leadership. And although Congressman Rodino was a quiet man, he had the knack of leading, of managing, and he did it very well, in my opinion," said John Doar, who was Special Counsel to the Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings.[36]

In a 1989 interview with Susan Stamberg of National Public Radio, Rodino recalled that after the vote he went to room in back of the committee chambers, called his wife and cried. "Notwithstanding the fact that I was Democrat, notwithstanding the fact that there were many who thought that Rodino wanted to bring down a president as a Democrat, you know, he was our president", Rodino said. "And this is our system that was being tested. And here was a man who had achieved the highest office that anyone could gift him with, you know. And you're bringing down the presidency of the United States, and it was a sad, sad commentary on our whole history and, of course, on Richard Nixon."

As the Judiciary Committee prepared to vote on articles of impeachment, Rodino said: "We have deliberated. We have been patient. We have been fair. Now the American people, the House of Representatives and the Constitution and the whole history of our republic demand that we make up our minds." The committee, with six Republicans joining the Democratic majority, passed three of the five article of impeachment.[35]

After Nixon fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in what has been called the Saturday Night Massacre, Rodino began his committee's investigation. The committee spent eight months gathering evidence – "mostly behind closed doors but with frequent news leaks" – and pushed Nixon to comply with a subpoena for conversations taped in the Oval Office.[2]

Following the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel and with ensuing newspaper reports connecting the break-in to president Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign, congressional Democrats found themselves under much pressure to hold hearings on Nixon's alleged abuse of presidential powers. Rodino had only been Judiciary Chairman for a few months when his committee began to hear the case for Nixon's impeachment. Until the Watergate scandal, Rodino had spent his political career largely below the radar screen. Watergate put Rodino front and center in the political limelight. "If fate had been looking for one of the powerhouses of Congress, it wouldn't have picked me," Mr. Rodino told a reporter at the time.[35]


As Judiciary Chairman, Rodino presided over the Ford confirmation hearings in the House.[2]

He also served as Chairman of the committee's Monopolies and Commercial Law Subcommittee while chairing the full committee.

Rodino became Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in January 1973, following the unexpected defeat of 82-year-old Emanuel Celler of Brooklyn in the 1972 Democratic primary. Celler served for 50 years in the House, having been elected in 1922 when Warren Harding was president. Rodino also was one of the managers of the impeachment hearings of a pair of federal judges: Nevada judge Harry Claiborne in 1986 (for tax evasion) and Florida judge (and future congressman) Alcee Hastings in 1988 (for perjury).

House Judiciary Committee chairman

He was a member of the Congressional Committees Investigating The Iran-Contra Affair in 1987.[34]

Rodino was the Assistant Majority Whip of the House from 1965 to 1972, and served as a member of the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee during the same years. He was the Senior Member of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control in 1977 and from 1979 to 1988. He was a delegate to the North Atlantic Assembly where he was chaired the Scientific and Technical Committee; to the Working Group on the Control of Narcotics from 1962 to 1972; and to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration dealing with refugee problems from 1962 to 1972.[1]

House leadership

Rodino nearly gave up his House seat after three terms to seek the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 1954, when incumbent GOP Senator Robert C. Hendrickson was retiring after one term. Democrats believed they had a chance to pick up the open Senate seat and party bosses decided they would clear the field for a single candidate, avoiding a primary.[31] Rodino actively sought support for the Senate seat,[32] but Democrats instead went with another Congressman, Charles R. Howell.[33]

U.S. Senate campaign

In 1975, Rodino received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[30]

In 1973, Rodino voted against the confirmation of Gerald Ford as vice president as a protest against the policies of the Nixon administration.[2]

Throughout his 40 years in Congress, Rodino held fast to a liberal agenda. He stopped the proposed constitutional amendments that would ban abortion, allow organized prayer in the public schools, and prohibit busing to achieve school integration. Still, he was one of the last liberal Members of Congress to oppose the Vietnam War. He was viewed as an expert on immigration and bankruptcy law. He was a strong supporter of fair-housing legislation, and a staunch ally of organized labor.[2]

During his first term, Rodino was a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. After winning re-election in 1950, he was assigned a seat on the House Judiciary Committee. He worked to enact legislation to assure equal rights, reform immigration policy and public safety. He was the author of majority reports on civil rights legislation of 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968, was the author of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Rodino was the floor manager of the 1966 Civil Rights Act. He was the Co-Sponsor of the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and authored the bill that designated Columbus Day as a national holiday. From 1971–1973 he was the Chairman of the Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality Subcommittee and played a key role in passing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.[1]

Legislative record

Payne ran again in 1986, and had the endorsements of newly elected Newark Mayor Sharpe James and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Rodino promised to retire in 1988 and beat Payne by 9,920 votes, 25,136 (59.49%) to 15,216 (36.01%).[29]

Rodino faced another serious primary challenge in 1980, this time against Donald Payne, a former Essex County Freeholder who had carried the 10th district in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Essex County Executive in 1978.[27] At this point, Rodino was a national political figure and beat Payne by 17,118 votes, 26,943 (62.17%) to 9,825 (22.67%). Former Newark Municipal Court Judge Golden Johnson finished third with 5,316 votes (12.27%), followed by 1,251 (2.89%) for Rev. Russell E. Fox, a former Essex County Freeholder and East Orange school board member.[28]

[26] Rodino beat Hart by 13,000 votes, 37,650 (57%) to 24,118 (37%). Richardson finished third with 3,086 votes (5%) and Wilburt Kornegy received 718 votes (1%).[25] In 1972, Rodino faced his first serious challenge from an African American candidate in the Democratic primary. He considered moving into the neighboring 11th district, which lost its Black, Urban municipalities in redistricting and instead included suburban Essex County towns (and part of Rodino's old district); this would have forced a primary against Rodino's colleague (and Capitol Hill roommate)

Rodino's political problem became primary elections, especially as the cities anchoring the 10th congressional district, like Newark, East Orange, Irvington, and Orange, saw substantial growth of African American populations as white voters moved to the suburbs. In 1972, the 10th district was redistricted to create a black majority district.[24] Rodino, who had spent a career fighting on behalf of Civil Rights, was now a white candidate in a district that was drawn to increase Black representation in Congress.

Democratic primary challenges

For many years, Rodino shared a Washington apartment with Hugh Addonizio, a fellow Newark Democrat who was also elected to Congress in 1948 as a young World War II veteran. After Addonizio left Congress to become Mayor of Newark in 1962, Rodino became roommates with Addonizio's successor, Democratic labor leader Joseph Minish.[23] Rodino returned to his district every weekend.[2]

He was re-elected in 1968 (64% against Dr. Celestino Clemente, a surgeon), 1970 (70% against Griffin H. Jones,[21] a Montclair lawyer), 1972 (80% against bakery owner Kenneth Miller[22]), 1974 (81% against Newark-South Ward Republican Chairman John R. Taliaferro), 1976 (83% against Tony Grandison), 1978 (86% against John L. Pelt, an auto salesman), 1980 (85% against East Orange businessman Everett Jennings), 1982 (83% against Tim Lee), 1984 (84% against conservative activist Howard E. Berkeley), and 1986 (96%, with no Republican in the race).

Rodino faced his first African American opponent in 1966, when Earl Harris, a Republican Essex County Freeholder (and future Newark city council president) ran against him. In a Democratic landslide year nationally and in New Jersey, Rodino beat Harris with 64% of the vote.[19]

He was re-elected in 1960 with 65% against Alphonse A. Miele, and with 73% against Dr. Charles Allen Baretski, the Director of the Newark Public Library and the founder of the Institute of Polish Culture at Seton Hall University. In 1964, he defeated former Bloomfield Councilman Raymond W. Schroeder[20] with 74% of the vote.

[19] Rodino won 65% in 1960 and 73% in 1962.[18] This was the last time Rodino's General Election percentage would fall below 60%. In a 1958 rematch with Addonizio, he won by 27,536 votes, 60,482 (63.90%) to 32,946 (34.81%).[17]

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