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.