What does one have to do to be recognized by Congress upon one’s death?
For Elizabeth Taylor, the following accomplishments were sufficient:
• Moving to California (yes, moving got a “whereas” clause in the resolution honoring her, as did being born in England)
• Having a career that spanned seven decades
• Winning two Academy Awards for Best Actress
• Advocating for HIV and AIDS awareness
• Testifying before Congress
The resolution, which the Senate adopted last week, didn’t mention Taylor’s eight marriages — including one to former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) — her fierce fashion sense or her notoriety among the paparazzi. But it is the Senate, after all.
Taylor and Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate on a major-party ticket, are the only two recently deceased notables to merit a Congressional recognition (sorry, Nate Dogg). Others who have been honored by resolutions after their deaths include Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame and actor Paul Newman.
Notably, the House rejected a resolution from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) after the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she didn’t think it was necessary.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.