Javits eventually attended Columbia University at night, and in 1923 enrolled in New York University Law school earning his J.D. in 1926. Upon admission to the bar, he joined his brother as a partner to form Javits and Javits, specializing in bankruptcy, and stockholder suits.
Javits's fater had been a ward heeler for Tammany Hall, and experienced the corruption associated with the notorious political machine. After WWII, in 1946 Javits was nominated as the candidate for the Upper West Side's 21st Congressional District (since re-districted), and won. In 1954, he resigned his seat and took office as the New York State Attorney General after running against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. In 1956, Javits ran for the US Senate against Robert F. Wagner, beating Wagner by nearly 500,000 votes. Javits remained in the senat for 24 years.
In 1979, Javits was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. This caused a primary challenge in 1980 by a little known Long Island politician Alfonse D'Amato, who won the primary 54.7% to Javits's 44.3%. Javits then ran for the same seat as the Liberal Party Candidate in the general election, and split the Democratic base vote, giving D'Amato a plurality victory.
Javits died in 1986 in West Palm Beach Florida, and was interred at Linden Hill Jewish Cemetery, Queens, NY.
Javit's has been honored with a New York City Playground at the southwester edge of Fort Tryon Park, the building at 26 Federal Plaza, a lecture hall at SUNY Stony Brook, and of course the Javits Center, all named after him. There is also a fellowship by the United States Department of Education awarded in his honor.