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Birch Evans Bayh II

In office
January 3, 1963–January 3, 1981
Preceded by Homer Earl Capehart
Succeeded by Dan Quayle

Born January 22, 1928 (1928-01-22) (age 81)
Terre Haute, Indiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marvella Hern (1952-1979, her death)
Katherine "Kitty" Halpin (since 1981)
Children Evan Bayh (born 1955), Christopher Bayh (born 1982)
Residence Easton, Maryland
Alma mater Purdue University
Indiana State University
Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington
Profession Politician, Attorney
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1946-1948

Birch Evans Bayh II (born January 22, 1928) is a former United States Senator from Indiana (1963 to 1981). He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in the 1976 election but lost to Jimmy Carter. He is the father of former Indiana governor and current U.S. Senator Evan Bayh. He is also the father of Christopher Bayh, a lawyer.



Bayh was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to Leah Ward Hollingsworth and Birch Evans Bayh, Sr.[1] After serving in the United States Army, he attended the Purdue University School of Agriculture, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, and graduated in 1951. Bayh later attended Indiana State University, and graduated from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1960.

He served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1954 to 1962. In the House, he rose to the position of Speaker and, in 1961, was admitted to the Indiana bar. He won the 1962 US Senate race in Indiana.

On June 19, 1964, Bayh, his wife, Senator Ted Kennedy and legislative aide Edward Moss were on board a small plane that crashed in heavy fog near Springfield, Massachusetts. Senator Bayh pulled a badly injured Kennedy from the wreckage. Bayh and his wife were relatively unhurt, while the pilot and Moss were both killed in the crash.

Bayh was influential in the passing of Title IX to the Higher Education Act, which gave women equal opportunities in sports and academics in public education.

As chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, Bayh was the principal architect of two constitutional amendments:

  • The 25th Amendment, which established the rules for presidential succession and disability.
  • The 26th Amendment, which lowered the minimum voting age to 18.

Bayh was also the principal Senate sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed both Houses of Congress, but was not ratified by the states. The proposed constitutional change with which he was most closely associated in his final years in the Senate was his attempt to eliminate the Electoral College (the method of electing the President of the United States) and replace it with a popular vote in the 1960s and 70s. One of Bayh's proposals passed the House easily but was filibustered in the Senate. In 1977 he introduced reform legislation into the Senate,[2] but it never achieved the required two-thirds vote in either house of Congress. In 2006, he joined the National Popular Vote Inc. coalition, which aims to effect Electoral College reform through an interstate compact, and wrote a foreword to the book Every Vote Equal.

He was a co-sponsor of the Bayh-Dole Act which allowed United States universities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations to retain intellectual property rights of inventions developed from federal government-funded research.

Bayh speaking at a Barack Obama event

Bayh intended to run for the 1972 Democratic nomination for president, but his wife was diagnosed with cancer and he put his plans on hold. Before her death in 1979, Marvella Bayh became a leading cancer activist. In October 1975 Bayh announced his candidacy for the 1976 Democratic nomination. Bayh was considered a leading choice out of 12 candidates, and he was popular with organized labor and other liberal groups. However, his late start put him at a fundraising and organizational disadvantage. In January/February, Bayh finished third in the Iowa caucuses behind Uncommitted delegates and Jimmy Carter and third in the New Hampshire primary behind Carter and Morris K. Udall. A week later, Bayh finished a weak seventh place in the Massachusetts primary and ended his candidacy.

He ran for reelection for a fourth term in the 1980 election. Bayh and his opponent, Congressman and future Vice President Dan Quayle, engaged in seven debates. In those debates, Quayle attacked Bayh's liberal voting record, which hurt Bayh, and he was defeated for reelection in the Republican landslide year, with 46% of the vote to Quayle's 54%. Bayh has since resumed his law practice.

He currently resides in Easton, MD with his second wife Kitty, is a fellow at the C.V Starr Center of Washington College in Chestertown, MD, and a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm Venable LLP.[3]


  • The Making of an Amendment, Bobbs-Merrill, 1966.
  • One Heartbeat Away: President Disability and Succession, Bobbs-Merrill, 1968.
  • Drug Abuse in the Military. Report, Based on Hearings and Investigations, 1966-1970, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1971.
  • Legislative Oversight Hearings on Federal Juvenile Delinquency Programs, March 31 and April 1, 1971, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1971.
  • Barbiturate Abuse in the United States: Report Based on Hearings and Investigations, 1971-1972, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1973.
  • Selected Materials on the Twenty—Fifth Amendment: Report of Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1973.
  • Our Nation's Schools—a Report Card "A" In School Violence and Vandalism: Preliminary Report of the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, Based on Investigations, 1971-1975, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1975.
  • Challenge for the Third Century: Education in a Safe Environment: Final Report on the Nature and Prevention of School Violence and Vandalism: Report of the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1977.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Homer E. Capehart
United States Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Served alongside: Vance Hartke, Richard Lugar
Succeeded by
Dan Quayle
Political offices
Preceded by
Daniel Inouye
Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
Barry Goldwater


  1. ^ Ancestry of Evan Bayh
  2. ^ Bayh, Birch (1 March 2006). "Foreward" (PDF). Every Vote Equal. Retrieved 2009-03-28. "On January 10, 1977, I introduced S.J. Res.1, a proposed Amendment to the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College and provide for direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States. As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, I held five days of hearings on this..."  
  3. ^ "Venable LLP - Attorneys / Professionals - The Honorable Birch Bayh". Archived from the original on Oct 20, 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-28. "Client Benefits Senator Bayh was a Member of the United States Senate from 1962-1980. During his Senate career, he served on the Judiciary Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Environment and Public Works Committee. He served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, and the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution. Senator Bayh also chaired the National Alcohol Fuels Commission and the Office of Technology Assessment Study on the Patent System. Senator Bayh authored two Amendments to the Constitution – the Twenty-fifth Amendment on Presidential and Vice Presidential succession, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment lowering the voting age to 18 years of age. He is the author of Title IX to the Higher Education Act, which mandates equal opportunities for women students and faculty; co-author of the Bayh-Dole Act, which revitalized the nation’s patent system; and chief architect of the Juvenile Justice Act. Over the years Senator Bayh has served as chairman of the AMTRAK Labor/Management Productivity Council; the Mental Health Association’s National Commission on the Insanity Defense; the University of Virginia Commission on Presidential Disability & the Twenty-Fifth Amendment; and the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence. He has also served as a member of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board."  

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