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Gov. Edward Rendell Discusses Law and Politics During Visit Nov. 2

November 03, 2011

The skills law students acquire will help them in any career they decide to pursue, former Gov. Edward Rendell said during a visit to the law school sponsored by the American Constitution Society.

Thinking on one’s feet and communicating effectively are critical skills in any profession, Rendell said, adding that lawyers affect people in powerful ways. Recalling his own days in the District Attorney’s Office, Rendell described the humble gratitude he received from the mother of a young man shot in the head by police, whom he had prosecuted.

Rendell, whose career has included stints as the Philadelphia District Attorney, a two-term mayor of the city and two-term governor of Pennsylvania, returned to legal practice early this year as a partner with Ballard & Spahr.

During his visit, Rendell fielded a range of political and legal questions and offered a critique of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to
Philadelphia and many other cities.

The protesters should focus their energies on registering voters and undertaking other tasks that could curb the influence of wealth in the political system, Rendell said.

The Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case allows committees supporting political candidates to accept huge contributions without disclosing the donors’ identities, a development that Rendell called “the most pernicious thing in our political system today.”

Rendell said the protesters should work to amend the U.S. constitution to distinguish political contributions from protected free speech.

“Let’s get out there and do something,” he said. “Get out of the tents.”