Henry Hyde: Wikis


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Henry J. Hyde

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1975–January 3, 2007
Preceded by Harold R. Collier
Succeeded by Peter Roskam

Born April 18, 1924(1924-04-18)
Chicago, Illinois
Died November 29, 2007 (aged 83)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jeanne Simpson Hyde (deceased; 4 children)
Judy Wolverton (widowed; no children)
Alma mater Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago
Occupation attorney, political assistant
Religion Roman Catholic

Henry John Hyde (April 18, 1924 – November 29, 2007), an American politician, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 2007, representing the 6th District of Illinois, an area of Chicago's northwestern suburbs which included O'Hare International Airport. He chaired the Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001, and the House International Relations Committee from 2001 to 2007.


Early life

Hyde was born in Chicago to an English father and an Irish Catholic mother, in a family that supported the Democratic Party. He attended Duke University where he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity, graduated from Georgetown University and obtained his law degree from Loyola University. Hyde played basketball for the Georgetown Hoyas where he helped take the team to the 1943 championship game. He served in the Navy during World War II where he served in combat in the Philippines. He served in the Naval Reserve from 1946 to 1968, where he retired at the rank of Commander, after serving as officer in charge of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserve Unit in Chicago. He was married to Jeanne Simpson Hyde from 1947 until her death in 1992; he had four children and four grandchildren.[1] By 1952 Hyde had switched party affiliation and supported Dwight D. Eisenhower.[citation needed]

Political career

In 1967 Hyde was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1967. He was a press aide for Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign.[2]

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. He was involved in some of the highest level debates concerning the response to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Political positions and legislation

Hyde was one of the most vocal and persistent opponents of abortion law liberalization in American politics and was the sponsor of a 1979 amendment to a Labor/Health and Human Services Appropriations bill thatprohibited use of federal funds to pay for abortions (see Hyde Amendment).

An original sponsor of the Brady Bill requiring background checks for gun buyers, Hyde broke with his party in 1994 when he supported a ban on the sale of semi-automatic firearms. An original sponsor of family leave legislation, Hyde said the law promoted "capitalism with a human face." He introduced the Hyde Amendment in 1997.

House committees

Hyde was a member of the House Judiciary Committee from his freshman term, and its chairman from 1995 until 2001, during which time he served as the lead House "manager" during the President Clinton impeachment trial.

From 1985 until 1991, Hyde was the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Hyde and the Committee's senior Democrat, U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), authored America's worldwide response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in 2003 and landmark foreign assistance legislation creating the Millennium Challenge Corporation and expanding U.S. funding for successful microenterprise initiatives.

Savings and Loan scandal

In 1981, after leaving the House Banking Committee, Hyde went on the board of directors of Clyde Federal Savings and Loan, whose chairman was one of Hyde's political contributors. According to Salon.com, from 1982 until he left the board in 1984, Hyde used his position on the board of directors to promote the savings and loan's investment in risky financial options. In 1990, the federal government put Clyde in receivership, and paid $67 million to cover insured deposits. In 1993, the Resolution Trust Corporation sued Hyde and other directors for $17.2 million. Four years later, before pretrial investigation and depositions, the government settled with the defendants for $850,000 and made an arrangement exempting Hyde from paying anything. According to Salon.com, Hyde was the only member of the congress sued for "gross negligence" in an S&L failure.[3]

Iran-Contra investigation

As a member of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair, Hyde vigorously defended the Ronald Reagan administration, and a number of the participants who had been accused of various crimes, particularly Oliver North.[4][5] Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Hyde argued that although various individuals had lied in testimony before Congress, their actions were excusable because they were in support of the goal of fighting communism.[6]

Clinton impeachment

Hyde argued that the House had a constitutional and civic duty to impeach Bill Clinton for perjury. In the Resolution On Impeachment of the President Hyde wrote:[7]

What we are telling you today are not the ravings of some vast right-wing conspiracy, but a reaffirmation of a set of values that are tarnished and dim these days, but it is given to us to restore them so our Founding Fathers would be proud.

It's your country - the President is our flag bearer, out in front of our people. The flag is falling, my friends - I ask you to catch the falling flag as we keep our appointment with history.

He was also involved in debates over U.S.-Soviet relations, Central America policy, the War Powers Act, NATO expansion and the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair, and sponsored the United Nations Reform Act of 2005,[8] a bill that ties payment of U.S. dues for United Nations operations to reform of the institution's management.

Extramarital affair

In 1998, the Internet magazine Salon.com published "This Hypocrite Broke Up My Family" which stated that from 1965 to 1969, Hyde conducted an extramarital sexual affair with Cherie Snodgrass. At the time, Snodgrass was married to another man with whom she had three children. The Snodgrasses divorced in 1967. Hyde said the affair ended when Snodgrass' husband confronted Mrs. Hyde. The Hydes reconciled and remained married until Mrs. Hyde's death in 1992. Hyde, who was 41 years old and married when the affair occurred, admitted to the affair in 1998, describing the relationship as a "youthful indiscretion".[9] The revelation of this affair took place as Hyde was spearheading the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

9/11 and the Iraq War

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hyde, then serving as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, cautioned against attacking Iraq in the absence of clear evidence of Iraqi complicity, telling CNN's Robert Novak that it "would be a big mistake."[10] One year later, however, he voted in support of the October 10, 2002 House resolution that authorized the president to go to war with Iraq. In response to Rep. Ron Paul's resolution requesting a formal declaration of war, Hyde stated: "There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one of them.... Inappropriate, anachronistic, it isn't done anymore."[11]

In 2006, Hyde made the following observation in regard to the Bush Administration's proclaimed objective of promoting democracy in the Middle East:

Lashing our interests to the indiscriminate promotion of democracy is a tempting but unwarranted strategy, more a leap of faith than a sober calculation. There are other negative consequences as well. A broad and energetic promotion of democracy in other countries that will not enjoy our long-term and guiding presence may equate not to peace and stability but to revolution.[12]


Over the years, the demographics of Hyde's DuPage County shifted, leading his 2004 Democratic challenger Christine Cegelis to garner over 44% of the vote, the highest total of any of Hyde's opponents. On April 18, 2005 (his 81st birthday), Hyde announced on his Web site that he would retire at the expiration of his term (in January 2007)[13] A few days earlier, it had been reported that Illinois Republicans were expecting this announcement, and it was further reported that Illinois State Senator Peter Roskam had emerged as a leading contender for the Republican Party's nominee to succeed Hyde.[14] In August 2005, Hyde endorsed Roskam as his successor.[15]

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Henry Hyde received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, on November 5, 2007. Hyde was hospitalized recovering from open-heart surgery and could not attend the ceremony in person.


Hyde died on November 29, 2007 at 3 a.m. CST at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago[16] after suffering complications following an open heart surgery operation at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, IL months earlier.[17] Hyde is survived by his second wife, Judy Wolverton, whom he married a year before he died, and by his four children from his first marriage, to Jeanne Simpson Hyde, which lasted from 1947 until her death, in 1992. He is also survived by his four grandchildren.

See also


  1. ^ "Henry Hyde". NNDB. http://www.nndb.com/people/011/000025933/. 
  2. ^ "Ex-U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde dead at 83"". daily herald. 2007-11-29. http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=86259. 
  3. ^ Moberg, David. "The real Henry Hyde scandal", Salon.com, June 7, 1999
  4. ^ "Hyde’s Blind Eye: Contras & Cocaine"
  5. ^ Fox Butterfield (1987-05-26). "Republicans on Iran-Contra panel at odds over best tactics to use". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE4DA1031F935A15756C0A961948260. 
  6. ^ David G. Savage (1998-12-04). "Hyde View on Lying Is Back Haunting Him". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/dec/04/news/mn-50567. 
  7. ^ Hyde,Henry.""Statement Of The Honorable Henry J. Hyde"", December 18, 1998
  8. ^ H.R. 2745 Thomas
  9. ^ Talbot, David. ""This hypocrite broke up my family"", Salon.com, September 16, 1998
  10. ^ Jeffrey, Terence P. "Do we need a war with Iraq?" Human Events, October 29, 2001
  11. ^ Steven Yates (2004-04-07). "An Evening With Dr. Ron Paul". Lew Rockwell. http://www.lewrockwell.com/yates/yates92.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  12. ^ Hyde, Henry. "Perils of the Golden Theory", speech in Congress on February 26, 2006.
  13. ^ an Associated Press report
  14. ^ The Hill 14 April 2005
  15. ^ Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), 5 August 2005
  16. ^ Former Rep. Henry Hyde Dies at 83. Associated Press. November 29, 2007
  17. ^ Former Congressman Henry Hyde dies. Chicago Sun-Times. November 29, 2007

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harold R. Collier
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Peter Roskam
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Brooks
Chairman of House Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Jim Sensenbrenner
Preceded by
Benjamin Gilman
New York
Chairman of House International Relations Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Lantos

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