Dick Shelby

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Senator Richard Craig "Dick" Shelby (born May 6, 1934) is an American politician. He currently is the senior U.S. Senator from Alabama. Once one of the most ideologically right-wing Democrats in the Senate, Shelby became a Republican in 1994 when that party gained the majority in Congress.



Shelby was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended both undergraduate programs and law school at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1957 and 1963, respectively. After graduating, Shelby practiced law in Tuscaloosa, 1963 to 1978.

He then entered politics when he served as city prosecutor from 1963 to 1971. From 1966 to 1970, he was a U.S. Magistrate for the Northern District of Alabama; from 1969 to 1971, Shelby was a Special Assistant State Attorney General.

Shelby began his legislative career as a member of the Alabama State Senate in 1970, serving until 1978, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Shelby entered the House in 1979, and in 1986 defeated incumbent Republican Senator Jeremiah Denton. After taking office in 1987, he was reelected in 1992. Shelby publicly feuded with the Clinton Administration, voting with Republicans on several key bills, and on November 9, 1994, Shelby switched his party affiliation to Republican one day after the Republicans secured a Senate majority in the 1994 elections. He won his first full term as a Republican in 1998 by a large margin, and faced no significant opposition in 2004.

Shelby is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a number of its subcommitttees: Defense; Homeland Security; Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies; and the Subcommittee on Transportatoin/Treasury and General Government, of which he is the ranking member. He also sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Special Committee on Aging.

Shelby is currently co-chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus and Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus. He is also the Senate co-chair of the National Security Caucus. In addition, he is a member of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Senate Centrist Coalition.

In the Metroplex of Dallas-Fort Worth, Shelby is known for the Shelby Amendment, a law he sponsored that eased some of the restrictions placed on Dallas' secondary airport by the contentious Wright Amendment.

Shelby is a member of the American Bar Association and Alabama Bar Association, as well as the American Judicature Society, Alabama Law Institute, and Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.

Shelby lives with his wife, Annette Nevin Shelby. They have two sons, Richard Jr. and Claude Nevin. Claude and his wife Lisa have two children: a daughter, Anna Elizabeth Shelby, and a son, William Nevin Shelby.


Shelby has been a staunch Southern conservative for most of his career in the Senate. He opposes gun control and abortion, and favors a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. He has also been a staunch advocate of a flat tax and of the Bush Administration's tax cuts. However, he is considered to be much more independent-minded than his Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions.

Among the bills sponsored by Shelby over the years have been bills to make English the sole language of the federal government, to establish a flat tax, to limit federal government spending by statute, and to provide a moratorium on certain forms of immigration.

Shelby leaks classified messages to media

Senator Shelby served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1995 to 2003, stepping down because of a Senate rule limiting committee terms to eight years.

Controversy surrounds Shelby's role in leaking national security secrets involving the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2004, a federal investigaton concluded that Shelby revealed classified information to the media when he was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Specifically, Shelby revealed classified information on June 19, 2002 to Carl Cameron, the chief political correspondent on Fox News. This information had been given to Shelby only minutes before at a closed intelligence committee meeting. This information consisted of two messages intercepted by the National Security Agency on September 10, 2001, but only translated after the attacks the next day — "the match is about to begin" and "tomorrow is zero hour."

Intercepts by the National Security Agency are among the most sensitive of classified information. Both the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI investigated the case, and a grand jury empaneled; however, at the current time, no one has been charged with a crime.

On August 11, the media confirmed that Shelby had hired Washington-based attorney Gregory Craig, to represent him in investigations by the Ethics Committee.

In July 2004, the Justice Department declined to file criminal charges against Shelby and transferred the case to the Senate Ethics Committee. Shelby is likely to sidestep serious political difficulty for his leaking of classified information because he is a Republican and the Republican Party controls both the Senate and the Justice Department.


  • Bamford, James. A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies. New York: Doubleday. 127-131. ISBN 0385506724.
  • Project Vote-Smart Profile (

Preceded by:
Jeremiah Denton
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
Succeeded by:

Template:End box Template:AL-FedRep

Template:Current U.S. Senators


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