The 111th Congress (Part II)

The 111th Congress convenes this week and OBABL will mark the occasion with profiles of Congressional Black Caucus members who also happen to be attorneys.  We think membership in the U.S. Congress is a fine career alternative.  True,  you’re up against some stiff competition for a job that stands to pay you little more than that of a junior associate, but if you can resist the urge to hide store money in your freezer or assault security guards remove your official lapel pin, you’re all but guaranteed job security.

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes NortonThe Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
Representing the District of Columbia
Antioch College (Ohio)
Yale Law School
Georgetown University Law Center (Professor)
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990

It says something about Congress that one of its most distinguished and competent members does not have a real vote there.  In her nearly twenty year battle for DC Statehood voting rights, Congresswoman Norton has led with class rather than crass.  Every U.S. citizen should be lucky enough to have such a representative. From her bio:

Named by President Jimmy Carter as the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured law professor of law, and board member of three Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Norton also had been named one of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another.

Look at her rocking that big ‘ole fro back in the day.

Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King and Norton

Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King and Norton

Congressmen struggle with expletives, incontinence and keeping it in Vegas after the jump.
melofficialphotolThe Honorable Mel Watt
Representing the 12th District of North Carolina
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa)
Yale Law School
First elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1992

A practicing attorney and business owner for much of his career, Watt was the campaign manager of Harvey Gantt’s campaigns for City Council, for Mayor of Charlotte and for the United States Senate. (We could thump Michael Jordan for not supporting him). Seems THIS ONE wants us to know he’s more than a brain. The Congressman brags in his bio:

Since 1995 [Watt] has been the starting pitcher for the Democratic baseball team in the annual Congressional Baseball Game and was named most valuable player in 1995, 1996 and 2000.

But baseballs aren’t the only zingers the Congressman throws. Ralph Nader alleged Watt called him, “just another arrogant white man, telling us what we can do. It’s all about your ego, another [expletive] arrogant white man.”

After hearing Nader question whether President-elect Obama is an Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom, we understand how one could be tempted to give Nader the finger.


391px-sanford_bishop_official_photoThe Honorable Sanford D. Bishop Jr.
Representing the 2nd District of Georgia
Morehouse College
Emory University Law School
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992

Bishop State Community College is named after his father, Sanford Sr., the schools first president. We’d be remiss in not reporting on the Congressman’s unfortunate “leak” on an airline flight.

In spite of the cup peeing incident, which really could happen to anyone, Congressman Bishop was said to be on the short list for Secretary of Agriculture.

meeksphotoThe Honorable Gregory Meeks
Representing the 6th District of New York
Adelphi University
Howard University Law School
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998

A fixture in New York City politics for over 20 years, Congressman Meeks epitomizes the expression, “All’s fair in love, war and politics.” When his wife was considering a 2009 City Council run, Meeks publicly announced that he would be supporting another candidate.

We can wonder whether he gets any love home, but it is clear he gets no love in the local press. The NY Daily News busted him for skipping the congressional hearing on the auto industry bailout to attend a fundraiser at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

There is really so much more we could have said about these public servants. If you’d like to learn more about their backgrounds and voting records, see the links below.

The Washington Times Candidate Profiles 
The Washington Post Voting Record


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