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Best law-school references by US lawmakers

Posted Oct 15, 2013 7:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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U.S. lawmakers trying to make a point or get a laugh sometimes remember their law school days.

The National Law Journal picked the seven best law school references this year in Congress, where more than two-fifths of the lawmakers are lawyers. “In remarks on the House and Senate floors, members of Congress this year brought up law school in a variety of ways,” the story says, “from arguing that an issue is too difficult to understand—not even a lawyer can figure it out!—to saying that a concept is so easy to grasp that even a first-year law student would not be vexed. Need to make fun of yourself? Mention how you didn’t get into Harvard Law School. Trying to fill time during a filibuster? Tell a story about law school.”

Here are three of the seven:

• "He graduated—as I always remind him—from Harvard Law School. I called them several times, but obviously my application was lost. I never heard back from them." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaking about Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., on the day he made his 12,000th Senate vote.

• "I suggested to a friend who is a law professor that that would make a marvelous law school final exam. Imagine this amendment being passed into law and asking your law students to catalog all of the myriad ways in which such a proposal would be unconstitutional." Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during his 21-hour marathon speech, on a proposal to penalize senators who vote to subject Congress to the Obama administration’s health care law.

• "I felt un-American that I could not figure out my own taxes, especially as somebody who went to college, went to law school, is in the Senate." Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., arguing for tax reform.

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