Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/ˌrɒbɪˈnɛt ˈbaɪdən/; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Biden also represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Biden is a candidate for president in the 2020 election. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 2008. Biden was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and New Castle County, Delaware. He studied at the University of Delaware before receiving his law degree from Syracuse University. He became a lawyer in 1969 and was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972, when he became the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was re-elected six times and was the fourth most senior senator when he resigned to assume the vice presidency in 2009. Biden was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991, but advocated U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War in 1994 and 1995. He voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002, but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. Biden led the efforts to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act. He also chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. In 2008, Biden was the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. He became the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president of the United States after they won the election. As vice president, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending aimed at counteracting the Great Recession and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq through the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. His negotiations with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation including the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved that year's debt ceiling crisis; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. Obama and Biden were re-elected in 2012. In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden announced he would not seek the presidency in the 2016 election. In January 2017, Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction. After completing his second term as vice president, Biden joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice. He announced his 2020 candidacy for president on April 25, 2019. Biden is widely considered the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic party primary alongside Senator Bernie Sanders.