Tuesday, December 09, 2003

After only four months, Instalawyer is back on the blogosphere. Unfortunately, with some sad news. Former Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois has died at age 75. Here's a Chicago video stream, with comment by Illinois' Lt. Governor. Sorry about the ad preceding the news report; I don't know how to get rid of it. Here's a print story.

I have personally fond memories of Sen. Simon. In my third year of law school, I interned for Simon's Senate Judiciary subcommittee staff. One day, because my boss was throwing up in the bathroom, I had to staff the Senator at a subcommittee meeting featuring the Secretary of Commerce [Malcolm Baldridge] and the head of the Antitrust Division [Doug Ginsburg]. I was ready to go, as I had done the entire briefing book anyway. Naturally, the Senator's first question to me was (a) not in the book, and (b) a question to which I did not know the answer! After a sprint to the nearest library [1 floor down and, it seemed, a half a mile away], I had an answer. Aside from that, all was fine, and I must say that during that hearing and at other times when I had interaction with him, he was incredibly gracious, especially to an unpaid intern who was not even a constituent.

Another memory of my service in his office was when I saw the Challenger blow up, live and in color, from a TV in his personal office in the Dirksen building. Everything came to a halt in the normal kicked-over beehive of activity that was his senate office. I don't recall a peep from the room for about 30 minutes.

The reports are that he dies after having single bypass and heart valve replacement yesterday. That doesn't sound too onerous. I hope nobody screwed up. We've lost another of the Old Guard.

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