Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Arlen Specter ’56LLB

When Arlen Specter ’56LLB jumped parties this week, after 43 years in the GOP and 29 in the U.S. Senate, he set off a flurry of counting: that makes 57 Senate Democrats, plus one more if Al Franken is seated, plus two independents who caucus with the Dems, for a potential 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority. President Barack Obama pledged to support Specter for re-election, fueling speculation about whether the White House could now count on his vote on the budget or the controversial nomination of fellow Yale Law School grad Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. (Answer: no.) U.S. News & World Report delved into the demographics, noting that the Philadelphian’s switch “deprives Republicans of their sole Jewish senator.” Amid all the number-crunching, it might be worth tabulating one more consequence of the newly blue Old Blue: of eight Yale alumni in the Senate, Republicans now account for exactly zero.

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