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William L. Scott

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William L. Scott
William Lloyd Scott.jpg
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 1, 1979
Preceded byWilliam B. Spong Jr.
Succeeded byJohn Warner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1973
Preceded byHoward W. Smith
Succeeded byStanford Parris
Personal details
William Lloyd Scott

(1915-07-01)July 1, 1915
Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.
DiedFebruary 14, 1997(1997-02-14) (aged 81)
Fairfax Station, Virginia, U.S.
Resting placeFairfax Memorial Park
Political partyRepublican
Ruth Inez Huffman
(m. 1940)
Alma materNational University School of Law (LLB, LLM)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

William Lloyd Scott (July 1, 1915 – February 14, 1997) was an American Republican politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He served in both the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate. He was the first Republican elected to the Senate from Virginia since the end of the Reconstruction era.

A native of Williamsburg, Virginia , Scott graduated from high school in St. Albans, West Virginia and began a career with the United States Government Publishing Office. After completing LL.B. and LL.M. degrees at National University School of Law (now George Washington University Law School) in 1938 and 1939, he was admitted to the bar and worked as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice. In early 1945, he enlisted in the United States Army for World War II, and he served until the end of the war, receiving his discharge later that year.

In 1963 and 1965, Scott was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the Virginia State Senate. In 1966, he was a successful candidate for the United States House of Representatives. He was re-elected twice, and served from 1967 to 1973. In 1972, he was elected to the United States Senate, the first Republican to win a Senate seat in Virginia since the end of Reconstruction. He served one term, 1973 to 1979. During his Congressional service, Scott made headlines over of frequent allegations of incompetence and racism.

After leaving the Senate, Scott retired to Fairfax Station, Virginia. He died in Fairfax on February 14, 1997, and was buried at Fairfax Memorial Park in Fairfax.

Early life

William L. Scott was born in Williamsburg, Virginia on July 1, 1915, the son of William David Scott and Nora Belle (Ingram) Scott.[3] He graduated from high school in St. Albans, West Virginia[4] and began a career with the Government Printing Office.[5] He received an LL.B. from National University School of Law (now George Washington University Law School) in 1938 and an LL.M. in 1939.[6] Scott was admitted to the bar, and was employed as a trial attorney with the Department of Justice until 1961.[7]

Scott served in the United States Army during World War II, enlisting as a private in April 1945, and receiving his discharge later the same year as a result of the end of the war.[8] He was later active in the American Legion.[9]

He engaged in the private practice of law in Fairfax, Virginia from 1961 to 1966. In 1963 and 1965 he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Virginia State Senate.[4] In 1965 he initially appeared to have won, but a recount showed that he had lost by 21 votes.[6]

United States House

Scott won the Republican nomination for Virginia's 8th congressional district in 1966.[10] He expected to face 18-term incumbent and House Rules Committee chairman Howard W. Smith, a conservative Democrat, but Smith lost renomination to a more liberal Democrat, State Delegate George Rawlings.[11] With support from conservative Democrats as well as Republicans, Scott handily defeated Rawlings in November.[12] He was easily re-elected twice, and served from January 3, 1967 to January 3, 1973.[13]

United States Senate

In 1972, Scott won the Republican nomination for the United States Senate and defeated Democratic incumbent William B. Spong Jr. in a close race, making Scott the first Republican Senator from Virginia since Reconstruction.[5] Scott benefited from Richard Nixon's landslide victory in that year's presidential election, with Nixon winning Virginia by almost 38 points and carrying all but one county-level jurisdiction.[14]

Scott served one term, January 3, 1973, to January 1, 1979.[15] He did not run for re-election in 1978, and resigned on January 1, 1979, two days before the end of his term.[15] Scott's resignation enabled the Governor of Virginia to appoint the winner of the 1978 Senate election, John Warner, to fill the vacancy, giving Warner one day of seniority over other Senators who were elected in 1978.[16] During his Congressional service, Scott was criticized for excessive expenses incurred during his fact-finding trips abroad.[17]

Racism and anti-semitism

When criticizing the implementation of the Post Office's ZIP Code program in 1973, Scott criticized the initiative by saying "the only reason we need zip codes is because niggers can't read."[18]

In addition, his name appeared in an exposé of Congressional staff hiring practices as one of the members who had given "No Blacks" and other similar instructions to the Capitol Hill Placement Bureau.[19] Scott was also alleged to have displayed anti-semitism while in Congress.[20] One news report indicated that during a job interview, Scott was told that the applicant was Jewish, and replied "Oh, I've got too many of them here now to hire you."[20]

"Dumbest Member of Congress"

A 1974 article in New Times by Nina Totenberg reported that Scott had been ranked at the top of the list of "The Ten Dumbest Members of Congress".[21]

Scott's critics cited many examples to support this claim. While being briefed about the military capabilities of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Scott reportedly confused missile silos for grain silos and said "Wait a minute! I'm not interested in agriculture. I want the military stuff."[22] In addition, 1975 press accounts of a trip he took to the Middle East stated that Scott was a "diplomat's nightmare" who mistook the Suez Canal for the Persian Gulf, refused to enter a mosque because it wasn't "a Christian building", and asked Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin "What is this Gaza stuff? I have never understood that."[23] Scott held a press conference to deny the claims of the New Times story, which had the effect of giving the allegation wider circulation and enhanced credibility.[24]

In 2000 and afterwards, journalist Harry Stein, who had provided much of the background information to Totenberg based on an earlier Stein article for another publication called The Private Faces of Bill Scott, said the articles had been a "vicious hatchet job", and agreed with Scott's assessment at the time that the articles were written by "some left-wing kids from Richmond with an agenda." Stein went on to say that while Scott was a tempting target—roundly disliked by his colleagues and his staff, and widely regarded as incompetent—Stein and his colleagues had done Scott "a disservice" for which Stein expressed regret.[25][26]

Retirement and death

In retirement Scott resided in Fairfax Station, Virginia. In his later years he suffered from Alzheimer's disease and resided in a Fairfax nursing center.[27] Scott died in Fairfax on February 14, 1997, and was interred at Fairfax Memorial Park in Fairfax.[27]


  1. ^ The National Rural Letter Carrier. Vol. 66. Alexandria, VA: National Rural Letter Carrier Association. 1967. p. 89.
  2. ^ The National Rural Letter Carriers
  3. ^ The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Vol. 3. New Providence, NJ: Martindale, LLC. 1963. p. 6202.
  4. ^ a b "St. Albans Woman's Brother: Virginia Republican Wins; Democrat Happy". Charleston Daily Mail. November 9, 1966. p. 10.
  5. ^ a b Virginia State Senate Joint Resolution No. 405, On the Death of Senator William L. Scott, February 20, 1997
  6. ^ a b "Biographies of Members of Congress: William L. Scott". Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Incorporated. 24: 2949. 1967. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  7. ^ "Biography: William L. Scott". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 89. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society. 1981. p. 200.
  8. ^ William L. Scott at U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, National Archives and Records Administration
  9. ^ Biography, William L. Scott. Guide to the William Lloyd Scott papers, 1967-1979. George Mason University Libraries.
  10. ^ "Republicans Pick Scott as Nominee for Seat Now Held by Howard Smith". Danville Register. Danville, VA. Associated Press. June 5, 1966. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Amith Labeled 'Great Man' by Colleague". Danville Register. Danville, VA. Associated Press. July 14, 1966. p. 1.
  12. ^ "State Republicans Hike House Seats to Four". Danville Register. Danville, VA. Associated Press. November 9, 1966. p. 1.
  13. ^ "Congressional Biography, William Lloyd Scott". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Senate Historical Office. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "Scott Defeats Spong as State Backs Nixon". Associated Press. November 8, 1972. p. 1.
  15. ^ a b "SCOTT, William Lloyd - Biographical Information". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ John William Warner at Congressional Biographical Directory
  17. ^ Tierney, John (27 November 1978). "Senate Losing One of a Kind". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  18. ^ Felton, Bruce; Fowler, Mark (1985). Felton & Fowler's Best, Worst, and Most Unusual. Random House Value Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 9780517462973.
  19. ^ "Politics: Exposé; "No Blacks" Wanted by Congressmen". Jet. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co. September 12, 1974. p. 23.
  20. ^ a b Hirschorn, Michael (February 1, 1989). "Popsicles and Nutty Buddies". Spy. New York: Spy Publishing Partners: 87.
  21. ^ Totenberg, Nina (1974). "The Ten Dumbest Members of Congress". New Times. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Lee, Laura (2008). Schadenfreude, Baby!. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-1-59921-235-7.
  23. ^ "Senator denies Faux Pas on Mideast Trip". Miami News. Associated Press. October 1, 1975. p. 2A.
  24. ^ "Nina Totenberg", Current Biography Yearbook, 1996, pages 575–579.
  25. ^ Stein, Harry (Spring 2008). "How the Press Got Political". City Journal. Vol. 18, no. 2. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  26. ^ Brumfield, Dale M. (30 July 2013). Richmond Independent Press: A History of the Underground Zine Scene. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-60949-839-9.
  27. ^ a b "William Scott, 81, Congressman Symbolizing G.O.P. Rise in South". The New York Times. 1997-02-17. Retrieved 27 September 2020.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
James P. Ould Jr.
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Virginia
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1973
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by  U.S. senator (Class 2) from Virginia
January 3, 1973 – January 1, 1979
Served alongside: Harry F. Byrd Jr.
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 16 June 2022, at 19:06
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