by Michael Ricciardelli
August 28, 2009
Photo: Senator Ted Kennedy testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, beside Peter Rodino, Chairman.
Peter Rodino served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1989–at which time he retired to a Professorship at Seton Hall Law until his death in 2005.
Senator Kennedy worked often with Peter Rodino. In her book “Fifty-Two Words My Husband Taught Me,” Joy Rodino recounts that “Upon Peter’s passing , Ted Kennedy said that during the Watergate inquiry, ‘Many of us felt that we were seeing a Founding Father in action, living the highest ideals of the Constitution. I’m sure my brother would have called him a profile in courage. I feel the same way.’”
The Fifty-Two words that Peter Rodino so lovingly referred to so often are those of the Preamble to the Constitution. The guiding light of Peter Rodino’s career– and of our country–those Fifty-Two words are The Who, The What and The Why of the Great Document.
Included within the Preamble as reasons for creating this more perfect Union and its Constitution are “to… promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
As that is The Why, Ted Kennedy functioned as The How of that great clause in a long and fabled career in the Senate. He gave the last full measure of his life to that cause; the Flag at Seton Hall Law flies at half-mast in his honor.