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About Clifford Philip Case
Clifford Philip Case, Jr. (April 16, 1904 – March 5, 1982) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Representative (1945–1953) and a U.S. Senator (1955–1979) from New Jersey.
Early life and education
The oldest of six children, Clifford Case was born in Franklin Park, New Jersey, to Clifford Philip and Jeannette McAlpin (née Benedict) Case. His father was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. His father was also a staunch Republican who even canceled his subscription to The New York Times after it endorsed Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential election. His uncle, Clarence E. Case, served as a member of the New Jersey Senate and as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. His great-grandfather was a court crier in Somerset County.
After serving at Six Mile Run Reformed Church in Franklin Park, his father accepted a position as pastor in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1907. Case received his early education at public schools in Poughkeepsie, and graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1921. His class predicted he would become Vice President of the United States, adding, "His good nature, however, and his stubborn hair will keep the Cabinet happy and harmonious." Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at Rutgers University in 1921. His father died the year before, and Case helped pay for his tuition by working part-time jobs, including playing the pipe organ in church on Sundays. At Rutgers, he was a member of the varsity lacrosse team, the Glee Club, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1928.
Case then studied at Columbia Law School, receiving his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1928. That same year, he married Ruth Miriam Smith, whom he had met in his junior year at Rutgers. The couple remained married until his death; they had two daughters, Mary Jane and Ann, and one son, Cliford Philip III.
In 1928, Case was admitted to the New York State Bar Association and joined the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City, where he remained until 1953. He returned to New Jersey, living in Rahway while commuting to work in New York City. He entered politics in 1937, when he was elected to the Rahway Common Council, serving from 1938 to 1942. From 1943 to 1945, he was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly.
In 1944, Case successfully ran for the United States House of Representatives from New Jersey's 6th congressional district. He defeated his Democratic opponent, Walter H. Van Hoesen, by a margin of 55%-43%. He was subsequently re-elected to four more terms, never receiving less than 55% of the vote. In 1952, he won 20,000 more votes than any other candidate ever received in his district and won 10,000 more votes than Dwight D. Eisenhower's majority.
As a member of the House, Case earned a reputation as a liberal Republican, frequently receiving the endorsement of the Americans for Democratic Action, Congress of Industrial Organizations, and American Federation of Labor. He once said, "If the needs of this country are not met by middle-of-the-road progressivism, the problems won't be met, and the time will come when only extremist solutions are possible." A strong supporter of civil rights, he voted in favor of an anti-poll tax measure, a proposal to prevent segregation in the Women's Reserve of the Coast Guard, and the creation of a Fair Employment Practices Commission to prohibit discrimination in the workforce. He also opposed the establishment of a permanent House Un-American Activities Committee and the overriding of President Harry S. Truman's veto of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. He served on the Civil Service, Education, and Judiciary Committees.
In 1953, Case was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey. In August of that year, he resigned from the House to become president of the Ford Foundation's Fund for the Republic, an organization dedicated to protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties in the United States. He served in that position until March 1954.
In March 1954, after Republican incumbent Robert C. Hendrickson declined to run for re-election, Case announced his candidacy for Hendrickson's seat in the United States Senate. After winning the Republican primary, he faced fellow U.S. Representative Charles R. Howell in the general election. During the campaign, Case openly criticized Senator Joseph McCarthy, and pledged to vote against seating McCarthy on any committee with investigative functions. McCarthy's supporters called him "a pro-Communist Republicrat" and "Stalin's choice for Senator." The Star-Ledger quoted former Communist Party leader Bella Dodd as saying that Case's sister Adelaide was "an active member of several Communist front groups." It was later revealed, however, that the Adelaide Case in question was not the candidate's sister but a college professor who had died in 1948. A conservative faction within the Republican Party unsuccessfully attempted to force Case off the ballot, also proposing a write-in campaign for former U.S. Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. Case was endorsed by President Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon.
On November 2, 1954, Case narrowly defeated Howell by a margin of 3,369 votes. It was the closest Senate election in New Jersey's history, and a recount was held on the following December 14. Case won the recount by 3,507 votes. In the Senate, he compiled one of the most liberal records of a Republican in the U.S. senate. He was re-elected in 1960, 1966 and 1972. Case won 22 votes for president at the 1968 Republican National Convention, losing the nomination to Richard Nixon. He also co-sponsored the Case-Church Amendment which prohibited further U.S. military activity in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 1973.
Case sought a fifth Senate term in 1978, but lost the Republican primary to Jeffrey Bell, an anti-tax conservative. Bell went on to lose the general election to Bill Bradley. No Republican has been elected to represent New Jersey in the Senate since Case's last victory in 1972.
Later life and death
After leaving the Senate, Case resumed the practice of law with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, a New York law firm. Case also lectured at Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics. He died in Washington, D.C. and was interred at the Somerville New Cemetery in Somerville, New Jersey.
His grandson, former Clinton Mayor Matthew Holt, was elected to the Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2005. He ran for the General Assembly seat in the 23rd legislative district that was vacated by Marcia A. Karrow in January 2009.