The Full Wiki

Robert Byrd: Wikis

  
  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on Robert Byrd

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Carlyle Byrd


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1959
Serving with Jay Rockefeller
Preceded by W. Chapman Revercomb

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Ted Stevens
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John C. Stennis
Succeeded by Strom Thurmond
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by Strom Thurmond
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by Ted Stevens

In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Mike Mansfield (D)
Succeeded by Howard Baker (R)
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1989
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Bob Dole (R)
Succeeded by George Mitchell (D)

In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Howard Baker (R)
Succeeded by Bob Dole (R)

In office
January 3, 1971 – January 3, 1977
Leader Mike Mansfield (D)
Preceded by Ted Kennedy (D)
Succeeded by Alan Cranston (D)

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by E.H. Hedrick
Succeeded by John M. Slack, Jr.

In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John Stennis
Succeeded by Mark Hatfield
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Thad Cochran
Succeeded by Daniel Inouye

Born November 20, 1917 (1917-11-20) (age 92)
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Erma Ora Byrd (deceased)
Children Mona Byrd Fatemi
Marjorie Byrd Moore
Residence Sophia, West Virginia
Alma mater Marshall University
American University - Washington College of Law
Profession Politician
Attorney
Religion Baptist[1][2]
Signature
Website U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd

Robert Carlyle Byrd (born November 20, 1917) is the senior United States Senator from West Virginia, and a member and former Senate Leader of the Democratic Party. Byrd has been a Senator since January 3, 1959, and is the longest-serving Senator as well as the longest-serving member in congressional history.[3][4][5] He has been the Dean of the Senate since 2003. He is also the oldest current member of the Congress, and is the first person to serve uninterrupted for half a century as a U.S. senator.[5]

Byrd has been President pro tempore of the United States Senate since 2007,[6] a position that puts him third in the line of presidential succession, behind Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He also held this post previously from 1989 to 1995, briefly in January 2001, and from June 2001 to January 2003.[6] In this role, Sen. Byrd signs bills passed by Congress before they are sent to the president to be signed into law or vetoed.

Byrd holds a wide variety of both liberal and conservative political views. A lifelong Democrat, Byrd did not leave the party as its views shifted from social conservatism to social liberalism. He has also held many leadership positions: Senate Conference Secretary, Majority Whip, Minority Leader and twice Majority Leader. He is the only former party leader currently in the Senate.

Contents

Early life

Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1917.[6] When he was one year old, his mother, Ada Mae Kirby, died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic. In accordance with his mother's wishes, his father, Cornelius Calvin Sale,[7] dispersed the family children among relatives. Sale Jr. was given to the custody of Titus and Vlurma Byrd, his uncle and aunt, who renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd and raised him in the coal-mining region of southern West Virginia.[5][8]

Byrd was valedictorian of Mark Twain High School[9] and, in 1937, he married his high-school sweetheart, Erma Ora James. He eventually attended Beckley College, Concord College, Morris Harvey College, and Marshall College, all in West Virginia.[6]

Ku Klux Klan

Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan when he was 24 in 1942. His local chapter unanimously elected him Exalted Cyclops.[8]

According to Byrd, a Klan official told him, "You have a talent for leadership, Bob... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd later recalled, "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did."[8] Byrd held the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops.[8]

In 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo:[10]

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
 
— Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944, [8][11]

When running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan." He said he had joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was anti-communist.[8] However, in 1946 or 1947 he wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation."[12]

In 1997, he told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics, but to "Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don't get that albatross around your neck. Once you've made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena."[13] In his latest autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions."[14] Byrd also said, in 2005,

I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened.
 
— Robert C. Byrd, [8]

State politics

He worked as a gas-station attendant, grocery-store clerk, shipyard welder during World War II, and butcher, before he won a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946, representing Raleigh County from 1947 to 1950.[6] In 1950, he was elected to the West Virginia Senate, where he served from 1951 to 1952.[6] After being elected to the United States House of Representatives, he began night classes at American University's Washington College of Law in 1953, but did not receive his degree until a decade later [6] by which time he was a U.S. Senator; President John F. Kennedy spoke at the commencement ceremony in June 1963 and mentioned Byrd by name. Byrd also studied at The George Washington University Law School but would not, however, receive a degree until 1994, when he graduated from Marshall University.[5]

In 1951, then–State Delegate Robert Byrd was among the official witnesses of the execution of Harry Burdette and Fred Painter, which was the first use of the electric chair in West Virginia.[15] Capital punishment in that state was abolished in 1965, the last execution having occurred in 1959.

Congressional service

In 1952, Byrd was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives for West Virginia's 6th Congressional District,[6] succeeding E. H. Hedrick, who had decided to step down to run for Governor of West Virginia. He was reelected to the House twice, and served in total from January 3, 1953 to 1959.[6] Byrd defeated Republican incumbent W. Chapman Revercomb for the United States Senate in 1958—a campaign in which Revercomb's record supporting civil rights became an issue which played in Byrd's favor.[6] He has been reelected eight times. He was West Virginia's junior senator for his first four terms; his colleague from 1959 to 1985 was Jennings Randolph, who had been elected on the same day in a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Matthew Neely.

While Byrd faced some vigorous Republican opposition in the past, he has not faced truly serious opposition since freshman congressman Cleve Benedict took a run at him in 1982. He has since won by comfortable margins. Despite his tremendous popularity in the state, he has run unopposed only once, in 1976. On two other occasions—in 1994 and 2000—he won all 55 of West Virginia's counties. In his reelection bid in 2000, he won all but seven of West Virginia's precincts. Shelley Moore Capito, a Congresswoman and the daughter of Byrd's longtime foe, former governor Arch Moore, Jr., briefly considered a challenge to Byrd in 2006, but decided against it.

In the 1960 Democratic Presidential election primaries, Byrd, a close Senate ally of Lyndon B. Johnson, endorsed and campaigned for Hubert Humphrey over front runner John F. Kennedy in the crucial West Virginia primary.[16] However, Kennedy won the state's primary and,[17] eventually, the general election.

The record of public service longevity

An earlier portrait of Robert Byrd

Byrd was elected to an unprecedented ninth consecutive full term in the Senate on November 7, 2006. He became the longest-serving senator in American history on June 12, 2006, surpassing Strom Thurmond of South Carolina with 17,327 days of service.[3] On November 18, 2009, he became the longest serving member in congressional history with 56 years 320 days of service, passing Carl Hayden, an Arizona politician.[4][5] Previously, he had held the record for the longest unbroken tenure in the Senate. Considering his tenure as state legislator from 1947 to 1953, Byrd's service on the political front exceeds 60 years. Byrd, who has never lost an election, cast his 18,000th vote on June 21, 2007, the most of any senator in history.[5][18]

Upon the death of former Senator George Smathers of Florida, on January 20, 2007, Byrd became the last living United States Senator from the 1950s.[19] This means that not only is Byrd the only person in U.S. history to remain in the Senate for that entire period, but he has outlived every other Senator who had seniority over him. Byrd is the only surviving Senator to have voted on a bill giving statehood to a U.S. territory. He has served in the Senate longer than ten current colleagues of his have been alive, namely Bob Casey, Jr., Amy Klobuchar, Blanche Lincoln, John Thune, David Vitter, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand and George LeMieux, as well as former Senator John E. Sununu and current President Barack Obama.

Committee assignments

Filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Majority Whip Byrd meeting with President Gerald Ford

Byrd joined with other Southern and border state Democrats to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964,[20] personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he now says he regrets.[21] Despite an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, both parties in Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Act, and President Johnson signed the bill into law.[22] He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In 2005, Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views. In the opinion of one reviewer, Byrd, along with other Southern and border state Democrats, came to realize that he would have to temper "his blatantly segregationist views" and move to the Democratic Party mainstream if he wanted to play a role nationally.[8]

Because of his opposition to desegregation, Byrd was a member of this Democratic Party wing that opposed desegregation and civil rights imposed by the Federal Government. However, despite his early career in the KKK, Byrd was linked to such Senators as John C. Stennis, J. William Fulbright or George Smathers, who based their segregationist positions on their conception of states' rights in contrast to, for example, James Eastland, who held a reputation as a committed racist.

Leadership roles

Detail of the Senate desk used by Democratic leaders, including Byrd

Byrd has been a member of the Senate Democratic leadership since 1967, when he was elected as secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference from 1967 to 1971.[6] He became Senate Majority Whip, or the second-ranking Democrat, for six years beginning in 1971.[6] From 1977 to 1989 Byrd was the leader of the Senate Democrats, serving as Senate Majority Leader from 1977 to 1981 and 1987 to 1989 and as Senate Minority Leader from 1981 to 1987.[6]

In 1976, Byrd was the "favorite son" candidate in West Virginia's primary. His easy victory gave him control of the delegation to the national convention. Byrd had the inside track as majority whip, but focused most of his time on campaigning for the office of majority leader, more so than for re-election to the Senate, as he was virtually unopposed for his fourth term. By the time the vote for majority leader was at hand, he had it so wrapped up that his lone rival, Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey, withdrew before the balloting took place.

President pro tempore Byrd and House Speaker Dennis Hastert presided over a special joint session following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Here President Bush shakes hands with Byrd.

Byrd is well known for steering federal dollars to West Virginia, one of the country's poorest states. He is called by some the "King of Pork."[23] After becoming chair of the Appropriations Committee in 1989, Byrd sought to steer, over time, a total of $1 billion for public works in the state.[citation needed] He passed that mark in 1991, and the steady stream of funds for highways, dams, educational institutions, and federal agency offices has continued unabated over the course of his membership. More than thirty pending or existing federal projects bear Byrd's name. He commented on his reputation for attaining funds for projects in West Virginia in August 2006 when he called himself "Big Daddy" at the dedication to the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.[24]

Byrd is also known for using his knowledge of parliamentary procedure: Before the "Reagan Revolution", Byrd frustrated Republicans with his encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings of the Senate. From 1977 to 1979 he was described as "performing a procedural tap dance around the minority, outmaneuvering Republicans with his mastery of the Senate's arcane rules."[25] In 1988, while Majority Leader, he moved a call of the Senate, which was adopted by the majority present, in order to have the Sergeant at Arms arrest members not in attendance. One member (Robert Packwood, R-Oregon) was escorted back to the chamber by the Sergeant-at-Arms in order to obtain a quorum.[26]

As the longest-serving Democratic Senator, Byrd has served as President pro tempore four times when his party has been in the majority:[6] from 1989 until the Republicans won control of the Senate in 1995; for 17 days in early 2001, when the Senate was evenly split between parties and outgoing Vice President Al Gore broke the tie in favor of the Democrats; when the Democrats regained the majority in June 2001 after Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican party to become an independent; and again in 2007, as a result of the 2006 Senate elections. In this capacity, Byrd is third in the line of presidential succession, currently behind Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Scholarships and TAH History Grants

In 1969, Byrd launched a Scholastic Recognition Award; he also began to present a savings bond to valedictorians from high schools, public and private, in West Virginia. In 1985 Congress approved the nation's only merit-based scholarship program funded through the U.S. Department of Education, which Congress later named in Byrd's honor. The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program initially comprised a one-year, $1,500 award to students with "outstanding academic achievement" and who had been accepted for enrollment at an institution of higher learning. From 1993 onwards, the program began providing four-year scholarships; students who received the first-year scholarship then could apply for stipends for the next three years.[9]

In 2002 Byrd secured unanimous approval for a major national initiative to strengthen the teaching of "traditional American history" in the K12 public schools.[27] The Department of Education awards in competition $50 to $120 million a year to school districts (in sums of about $500,000 to $1 million). The money goes to teacher training programs, operated in conjunction with universities or museums, geared to improving the content skills of history teachers. Referred to as a "TAH Grant," these awards come under the “Learning the Lessons of American History” initiative to strengthen and improve the teaching of American history in the schools.[28]

Senate historian

Byrd and Dr Richard Baker, a Senate historian

Television cameras were first introduced to the House of Representatives on March 19, 1979 with the launch of C-SPAN. Fearing that Americans only saw the Congress as the House of Representatives, Byrd believed that Senate proceedings should be televised to prevent the Senate from becoming the "invisible branch" of government. Thanks in part to Byrd's efforts, cameras came to the Senate floor in June 1986. To help introduce the public to the inner workings of the legislative process, Byrd launched a series of speeches based on his examination of the Roman Republic and the intent of the Framers. Byrd published a four-volume series on Senate history: The Senate: 1789–1989.

For that work, the American Historical Association, presented Byrd with the first Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award for Civil Service on January 8, 2004. The honorific award is intended to recognize individuals outside the academy "who have made a significant contribution to history." During the 1980s, he delivered a hundred speeches on the floor dealing with various aspects of the Senate's history, which were published in four volumes as The Senate, 1789–1989: Addresses on the History of the Senate (Government Printing Office, 1989–94). The first volume of his series won the Henry Adams Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government as "an outstanding contribution to research in the history of the Federal Government." He also published The Senate of the Roman Republic: Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism (Government Printing Office, 1995).

Recent Senate highlights

On July 19, 2007, Byrd, a self-described dog lover, gave a 25-minute passionate speech in the Senate against dog fighting, in response to the indictment of football player Michael Vick. Byrd called dog fighting a "brutal, sadistic event motivated by barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst, worst, worst sadistic kind. One is left wondering: 'Who are the real animals: the creatures inside the ring, or the creatures outside the ring?'"[29] In recognition of the speech, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Byrd their 2007 Person of the Year.[30]

For 2007, Byrd was deemed the fourteenth-most powerful U.S. Senator, as well as the twelfth most powerful Democratic Senator.[31]

Byrd with farmers from West Virginia

On May 19, 2008, Byrd released a statement endorsing Barack Obama (D-Illinois) for President of the United States. One week after the West Virginia Democratic Primary, in which Hillary Clinton defeated Obama by 41.32 percent,[32] Byrd said, "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."[33] In a written statement, Byrd stated Obama was "a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq." When asked in October 2008 about the possibility that the issue of race would influence West Virginia voters, as Obama is an African-American, Byrd replied, "Those days are gone. Gone!"[34] Obama went on to lose West Virginia (by 13 percent), but win the November 2008 presidential election.

On January 26, 2009, Byrd was one of only three Democrats to vote against the confirmation of Timothy Geithner to be United States Secretary of the Treasury (along with Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Tom Harkin of Iowa).[35]

On February 26, 2009 Byrd was one of only two Democrats to vote against the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which provided a voting seat in the United States House of Representatives for the District of Columbia and added a seat for Utah (fellow Democrat Max Baucus of Montana also cast a "nay" vote). The bill passed 61-37 with one Senator not voting.[36]

Although his health was poor, Byrd was present for all of the crucial votes during the Senate's December 2009 health care debate; his vote was necessary so that the Democrats could obtain cloture to break a Republican filibuster. At the final vote on December 24, 2009, he referenced Ted Kennedy, a devoted proponent of health care reform who died earlier in the year, when casting his vote: "Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy! Aye!"[37]

Political views

Voting record

Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd

On occasion, Byrd disagreed with President Bill Clinton's policies. Byrd initially said that the impeachment proceedings against Clinton should be taken seriously and conducted completely. Although he harshly criticized any attempt to make light of it, he made the motion to dismiss the charges against the president and effectively suspend proceedings. Even though he voted against both articles of impeachment, he was the sole Democrat to vote for the censure of Clinton.[38] He strongly opposed Clinton's 1993 efforts to allow gays to serve in the military and has also supported efforts to limit gay marriage, in 1996 before with the pending passage of the Defense of Marriage Act he said The drive for same-sex marriage, is, in effect, an effort to make a sneak attack on society by encoding this aberrant behavior in legal form before society itself has decided it should be legal...Let us defend the oldest institution, the institution of marriage between male and female as set forth in the Holy Bible.[39]

However, he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, arguing that it was unnecessary because the states already had the power to ban gay marriages.[40] However, when the amendment came to the Senate floor he was one of the two Democratic Senators who voted in favor of the cloture motion.[41] He also opposes affirmative action.

He also voiced praise for George W. Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Likewise, Byrd supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Like most Democrats, however, Byrd opposed Bush's tax cuts and his proposals to change the Social Security program. He is pro-choice and voted against the first ban on partial birth abortions in 1995, but voted for the bill on subsequent occasions. Byrd voted against Laci and Conner's Law, which strongly divided the supporters and opponents of legal abortion.

Byrd is opposed to the Flag Desecration Amendment, saying that, while he wants to protect the American flag, he believed that amending the constitution "is not the most expeditious way to protect this revered symbol of our Republic." In response to the amendment, Byrd has cosponsored S. 1370, a bill that prohibits destruction or desecration of the flag by anyone trying to incite violence or causing a breach of the peace. It also provides that anyone who steals, damages, or destroys a flag on federal property, whether a flag owned by the federal government or a private group or individual, can be imprisoned for up to two years, or can be fined up to $250,000, or both.[42]

In 2003, Byrd voted for the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which prohibits a form of late-term abortion known as partial-birth abortion.[43]

In 2004, Byrd offered an amendment that would limit the personnel in Plan Colombia, but was defeated in the Senate.[44]

Byrd received a 65 percent vote rating from the League of Conservation Voters for his support of environmentally friendly legislation.[45] Additionally, he received a "liberal" rating of 65.5% by the National Journal — higher than six other Democratic senators.[46]

In 2006, Byrd received a 67 percent rating from the American Civil Liberties Union for supporting rights-related legislation.[47]

In 2009, Byrd was one of three Democrats to oppose the confirmation of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. Geithner was confirmed 60-34.[48] After missing nearly two months of votes due to being hospitalized, Byrd returned to the senate floor on July 21 to vote against the elimination of funding for the F-22 fighter plane.[49]

Race and race relations

Portrait of Byrd as Majority Leader

In a March 4, 2001 interview with Tony Snow, Byrd said of race relations:

They're much, much better than they've ever been in my lifetime... I think we talk about race too much. I think those problems are largely behind us... I just think we talk so much about it that we help to create somewhat of an illusion. I think we try to have good will. My old mom told me, 'Robert, you can't go to heaven if you hate anybody.' We practice that. There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time, if you want to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much.[50]

Byrd's use of the term "white nigger" created immediate controversy. When asked about it, Byrd responded,

I apologize for the characterization I used on this program... The phrase dates back to my boyhood and has no place in today's society... In my attempt to articulate strongly held feelings, I may have offended people.[50]

Byrd has since explicitly renounced his earlier views on racial segregation.[51][52] Byrd said that he regrets filibustering and voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964[20] and would change it if he had the opportunity. He has stated that joining the KKK was "the greatest mistake I ever made".[51] Byrd has also said that his views changed dramatically after his teenage grandson was killed in a 1982 traffic accident, which put him in a deep emotional valley. "The death of my grandson caused me to stop and think," said Byrd, adding he came to realize that black people love their children as much as he does his.[53]

Byrd is the only Senator to have voted against the nominations of both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court, the only two African-Americans to have been nominated to the court. Marshall's confirmation vote came in 1967 when Byrd and other segregationist senators were opposed to the idea of a black integrationist being placed on the court.[54] In order to gain evidence against Marshall's appointment, Byrd asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to look into what Byrd believed to be the possibility that Marshall had either connections to communists or a potential communist past.[55] Byrd opposed Thomas because Byrd stated that he was offended by Thomas using the phrase "high-tech lynching of uppity blacks" in his defense. Byrd stated that he was "offended by the injection of racism" into the hearing. He called Thomas's comments a "diversionary tactic". Byrd commented upon the racism issue that Thomas raised by stating that "I [Byrd] thought we were past that stage." Byrd dismissed Thomas' racism charges by stating that Thomas exhibited "arrogance" and Thomas' comments were "nonsense, nonsense." Regarding Anita Hill's sexual harassment charges against Thomas, Byrd believed Hill.[56] Byrd joined 45 other Democrats in their opposition to Thomas.[57] Byrd also opposed some of George W. Bush's judicial and cabinet nominees who were black, notably Janice Rogers Brown for judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State. Despite his opposition to Brown's appointment, Byrd would later ally himself with the Gang of 14 that would ensure that Brown's nomination would not be filibustered.

In the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP)[58] Congressional Report Card for the 108th Congress (spanning the 2003–2004 congressional session), Byrd was awarded with an approval rating of 100 percent for favoring the NAACP's position in all 33 bills presented to the United States Senate regarding issues of their concern. Only 16 other Senators of the same session matched this approval rating. In June 2005, Byrd[59] proposed an additional $10 million in federal funding for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., remarking that "With the passage of time, we have come to learn that his Dream was the American Dream, and few ever expressed it more eloquently."

War in Iraq

Byrd with Secretary of Defense-designate Robert Gates, November 30, 2006
Byrd with then-Lieutenant General David Petraeus, January 23, 2007

In the 107th Congress, Byrd suffered some legislative setbacks, particularly with respect to debates on homeland security. Byrd opposed the 2002 law creating the Department of Homeland Security, saying it ceded too much authority to the executive branch. He led a filibuster against the resolution granting President George W. Bush broad power to wage a "preemptive" war against Iraq, but he could not get a majority of his own party to vote against cloture and against the resolution.[60] He also led the opposition to Bush's bid to win back the power to negotiate trade deals that Congress cannot amend, but lost overwhelmingly. In the 108th Congress, however, Byrd won his party's top seat on the new Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

Byrd was one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He appeared on March 7, 2003 on CNN's Larry King Live to discuss his U.S. Senate floor speeches against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002.

In a speech on March 13 he stated:

If the United States leads the charge to war in the Persian Gulf, we may get lucky and achieve a rapid victory. But then we will face a second war: a war to win the peace in Iraq. This war will last many years and will surely cost hundreds of billions of dollars. In light of this enormous task, it would be a great mistake to expect that this will be a replay of the 1991 war. The stakes are much higher in this conflict.[61]

On March 19, 2003, when Bush ordered the invasion after receiving U.S. Congress approval, Byrd stated:

Today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned. Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination.[62]

Byrd also criticized Bush for his speech declaring the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq, which Bush made on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Byrd stated on the Senate floor:

I do question the motives of a deskbound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech.[63]

On October 17, 2003, Byrd delivered a speech expressing his concerns about the future of the nation and his unequivocal antipathy to Bush's policies. Referencing the Hans Christian Andersen children's tale The Emperor's New Clothes, Byrd said of the president: "the emperor has no clothes." Byrd further lamented the "sheep-like" behavior of the "cowed Members of this Senate" and called on them to oppose the continuation of a "war based on falsehoods."

Byrd accused the Bush administration of stifling dissent:

The right to ask questions, debate, and dissent is under attack. The drums of war are beaten ever louder in an attempt to drown out those who speak of our predicament in stark terms. Even in the Senate, our history and tradition of being the world's greatest deliberative body is being snubbed. This huge spending bill—$87 billion—has been rushed through this chamber in just one month. There were just three open hearings by the Senate Appropriations Committee on $87 billion—$87 for every minute since Jesus Christ was born—$87 billion without a single outside witness called to challenge the administration's line.

In July 2004, Byrd released the book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency about the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq.

Of the more than 17,000 votes he has cast as a Senator, Byrd says he is proudest of his vote against the Iraq war resolution.[64] Byrd has also voted for funding the Iraq war with a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Byrd was one of 14 Senators (who became known as the "Gang of 14") to forge a compromise on the use of the judicial filibuster, thus securing up and down votes for the judicial nominees and ending the threat of the so-called nuclear option. Under the agreement, the senators would retain the power to filibuster a judicial nominee in only an "extraordinary circumstance". It ensured that the appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate.

Electoral history

Health issues

On February 26, 2008, Byrd was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for observation following a fall at his home the day before. Byrd attended Senate sessions on that day, but complained of pain and his aides asked him to see the Capitol physician before he went to the hospital.[65] Byrd stayed in the hospital for four days; no broken bones were found. On March 5, he was readmitted because of his reactions to antibiotics and the need for tests to determine a different course of medication, a statement from his office said.[66] Byrd was admitted to the hospital again on June 2, 2008.[67] He recuperated at home and by June 18 had returned to chairing his committee.[68]

On January 20, 2009, Senator Ted Kennedy suffered a seizure during Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon and was taken away in an ambulance.[69] Byrd, seated at the same table, grew emotional over his colleague's continuing seizures and was himself removed to his office.[70] Byrd's office reported that he was fine.[71]

On May 18, 2009, it was reported that Byrd had been admitted to the hospital after experiencing a fever due to a "minor infection."[72] His stay at the hospital was prolonged due to a staphylococcal infection.[73] Byrd was released on June 30, 2009.[74]

Family

Byrd is not related to the Byrd Organization led by Harry F. Byrd and Harry F. Byrd, Jr., both former U.S. Senators from Virginia.

Wife

Byrd's mother, Ada Mae Kirby

Erma Ora James was born on June 12, 1917[75] in Floyd County, Virginia to Fred and Mary James, and was the daughter of a coal miner.[76] She had one sister, Beulah Minton. At an early age, she relocated to Raleigh County, West Virginia with her family. There she met Robert Byrd while attending Mark Twain School.

On May 29, 1937, she married Robert Byrd when both were 19 years old.[76] The small ceremony was attended only by their parents at the home of Reverend U.G. Nichols.

Beginning in 1958, Erma was a member of the Senate Wives Club, and was involved in Senate Wives' Red Cross projects.[76] In 1990, she was selected as Daughter of the Year by the West Virginia Society of Washington, D.C. She was later awarded a degree from the University of Hard Knocks at Alderson-Broaddus College in 1991, and in 1994, Marshall University initiated the Erma Byrd Scholars Program. This was followed with the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund of the West Virginia University Alumni Association, who established the Erma Ora Byrd Scholarship.

In October 1997, the Erma Byrd Garden at the Graceland Mansion at the Davis and Elkins College was dedicated. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheeling Jesuit University soon after, which was followed up with the dedication of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies on the campus.[76]

In May 1999, she was named Mother of the Year by the Thunder of the Tygart Foundation at the birthplace of Anna Jarvis, the surmised founder of Mother's Day. She received the Graduate of Distinction Award from the Education Alliance in Charleston, West Virginia in the same month. In January 2004, the Erma Byrd Gallery at the University of Charleston opened.[76]

On March 25, 2006, Erma Byrd died (age 88) after battling a lengthy illness.[76] Robert Byrd has dedicated several buildings in honor of his wife. On June 12, 2007, he dedicated the Erma Ora Byrd Hall nursing building at Shepherd University.[77] Also, on September 13, 2008, Byrd dedicated the West Virginia University Erma Byrd Biomedical Research Center.[78] The building houses the university's Sensory Neurosciences Research Center, the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences, the School of Pharmacy, and the Multiple Sclerosis and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Center.

Children

Byrd has two children, Mona Byrd Fatemi and Marjorie Byrd Moore; two sons-in-law, Mohammad Fatemi and Jon Moore; five living grandchildren, Erik Byrd Fatemi, Darius Fatemi, and Fredrik Fatemi, Mona Moore, and Mary Anne Moore, and one that is deceased, Michael Moore (not the film director); and six great-grandchildren, Caroline Byrd Fatemi, Kathryn James Fatemi, Anna Cristina Fatemi, Michael Yoo Fatemi, Emma James Clarkson, and Hannah Byrd Clarkson.[6]

Byrd in popular culture

  • Byrd has a prominent role in the 2008 Warner Bros. documentary Body of War. The film chronicles the life of Tomas Young, paralyzed from the chest down after an Iraqi sniper shot him as he was riding in a vehicle in Iraq. Several long clips of Byrd show him passionately arguing against authorizing the use of force in Iraq. Later in the movie, Byrd has a one-on-one interview with Tomas Young in Byrd's Senate office, with a grand shot of Byrd walking beside the wheelchair-bound Young as they leave the Capitol.
  • In the Jeffrey Archer novel Shall We Tell the President? Byrd, a Senate Majority Leader, was mentioned as the Senator, possible involvement in assassination plot against President (in first book version Ted Kennedy and later Florentyna Kane), but he was a suspect just because he was in Washington D.C. at a certain time, not because he was a political enemy or had any interest in killing the President.
  • Byrd was initiated as an honorary member of Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity at George Washington University.[79]
  • Byrd was an avid fiddle player for most of his life, starting in his teens when he played in various square dance bands. Once he entered politics, he used his fiddling skills to attract attention and win votes. In 1978 when Byrd was Majority Leader, he recorded an album called U.S. Senator Robert Byrd: Mountain Fiddler (County, 1978). Byrd was accompanied by Country Gentlemen Doyle Lawson, James Bailey, and Spider Gilliam. Most of the LP consists of "old-timey" mountain music. Byrd covers "Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die," a Zeke Manners song, and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." He has performed at the Kennedy Center, on the Grand Ole Opry and on Hee Haw. He can no longer play the fiddle due to the symptoms of a benign essential tremor that affects his hands.[80] Prior to that, he would occasionally take a break from Senate business to entertain audiences with his fiddle.
  • Byrd also appeared in the Civil War movie Gods and Generals in 2003 along with former Virginia Senator George Allen as Confederate officers.[81]

Published writing

  • 2008. Letter to a New President: Commonsense Lessons for our Next Leader. ISBN 0-312-38302-9.
  • 2005. Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields. ISBN 1-933202-00-9.
  • 2004. Losing America: Confronting A Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. ISBN 0-393-05942-1.
  • 2004. We Stand Passively Mute: Senator Robert C. Byrd's Iraq Speeches. ISBN 0-9755749-0-6.
  • 1995. Senate of the Roman Republic: Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism. ISBN 0-16-058996-7
  • 1995. The Senate, 1789–1989: Classic Speeches, 1830–1993, Vol. 3. ISBN 0-16-063257-9
  • 1993. The Senate, 1789–1989: Historical Statistics, 1789–1992, Vol. 4. ISBN 0-16-063256-0
  • 1991. The Senate, 1789–1989, Vol. 2: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. ISBN 0-16-006405-8
  • 1989. The Senate, 1789–1989, Vol. 1: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. ISBN 0-16-006391-4

References

  1. ^ "Famous Baptists". Adherents. 21 May 2007. http://www.adherents.com/largecom/fam_bap.html. 
  2. ^ Durso, Pamela R. (22 June 2006), Baptist influence in the public arena, Baptist History and Heritage, http://www.articlearchives.com/government/elections-politics-politics/760640-1.html 
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Allen (2006, May 31). "Byrd poised to break Thurmond’s record". The Hill. http://web.archive.org/web/20060614190120/http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/053106/news2.html. 
  4. ^ a b http://news.aol.com/article/senator-robert-c-byrd-is-longest-serving/771641
  5. ^ a b c d e f Tom Cohen (18 November, 2009). "West Virginia's Byrd becomes the longest-serving member of Congress". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/18/robert.byrd.congress.record/index.html. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "BYRD, Robert Carlyle, (1917 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=b001210. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  7. ^ Ancestry of Robert Byrd
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Pianin, Eric (2005-06-19). "A Senator's Shame: Byrd, in His New Book, Again Confronts Early Ties to KKK". The Washington Post: pp. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/18/AR2005061801105_pf.html. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  9. ^ a b "Robert C. Byrd: A Lifelong Student". United States Congress. http://byrd.senate.gov/issues/byrd_education/byrd_education.html. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  10. ^ Katznelson, Ira (2005). When Affirmative Action was White. p. 81. 
  11. ^ George Mason University
  12. ^ King, Colbert I.Sen. Byrd: The view from Darrell's barbershop, The Washington Post, March 2, 2002
  13. ^ "The Democrats' Lott", The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2002
  14. ^ Byrd, Robert C (2005). Robert C. Byrd : child of the Appalachian coalfields. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press. ISBN 1-933202-00-9. 
  15. ^ "Time Trail, West Virginia, February 1998 Programs". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. 1998-02-00. http://www.wvculture.org/hiStory/timetrl/ttfeb.html. 
  16. ^ Lawrence, William H. (1960-05-01). "Politics: New Campaign Tactics Emerge; West Virginia's Popularity Contest Now Takes On Deeper Meaning for the National Campaign". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ O'Brien, Michael (2005). John F. Kennedy: A Biography. New York: Macmillan Publishers. p. 455. ISBN 0-312-28129-3. 
  18. ^ Jill Lawrence and Eugene Kiely (2007, June 21). "Another milestone for Sen. Byrd: His 18,000th vote". USA Today. http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2007/06/another-milesto.html. 
  19. ^ U.S. Senate Senators Who Have Cast More than 10,000 Votes, United States Senate Democratic Policy Committee Vote Information Office, 2009, January 3, http://senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/three_column_table/10000_or_more_votes.htm U.S. Senate 
  20. ^ a b Civil Rights Act of 1964, Find Us Law, http://finduslaw.com/civil_rights_act_of_1964_cra_title_vii_equal_employment_opportunities_42_us_code_chapter_21 
  21. ^ "Byrd Says He Regrets Voting For Patriot Act". Common Dreams. Associated Press. 2006-02-28. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0228-07.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  22. ^ U.S. Senate, June 10, 1964: Civil Rights Filibuster Ended, United States Senate, http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Civil_Rights_Filibuster_Ended.htm 
  23. ^ Citizens Against Government Waste: Byrd Droppings, Citizens Against Government Waste, http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_byrddroppings 
  24. ^ Herald-Dispatch
  25. ^ Sheryl Gay Stolberg (2005, May 20). "DISPUTE IN THE SENATE: THE PLAYERS; Behind the Scenes, an Army of Senate Aides Takes On the Filibuster Fight". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20C13FD3F5D0C738EDDAC0894DD404482. 
  26. ^ "Who is the Sergeant-at-Arms, and what does he/she do? How is the position filled?". C-SPAN. 2000, May 3. http://www.c-span.org/questions/weekly12.asp. 
  27. ^ Miriam E. Hauss (December 2003), Senator Byrd to Receive the AHA's Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award for Civil Service, American Historical Association, http://www.historians.org/Perspectives/Issues/2003/0312/0312new2.cfm 
  28. ^ Teaching American History Program Announcement, United States Department of Education, 2009, March 6, http://www.ed.gov/programs/teachinghistory/index.html 
  29. ^ Paul Kane (2007, July 19). "Byrd on Michael Vick: Going to Hell". The Washington Post. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2007/07/byrd_to_michael_vick_go_to_hel.html. 
  30. ^ "Senator Who Was Once a Meat Cutter Praised for Giving Animals a Voice". People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 2007, December 26. http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=10694. 
  31. ^ "Power Rank Standings". Power Rankings. http://www.congress.org/congressorg/power_rankings/power_card.tt?id=622. 
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ Paul J. Nyden (2008, May 19). "Byrd endorses Obama for president". Charleston Gazette. http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200805190255. 
  34. ^ Byrd on Race Issues in W.Va.: "Those days are gone. Gone!", WSAZ-TV, 2008, October 24, http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/33234189.html 
  35. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session, United States Senate, http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00015 
  36. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session, United States Senate, http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00073 
  37. ^ Lisa Wangsness, "Health win in hand; hurdles ahead", Boston Globe, December 25, 2009.
  38. ^ U.S. Senate
  39. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/11/us/senators-reject-both-job-bias-ban-and-gay-marriage.html?pagewanted=all
  40. ^ Robert Byrd Senate Office
  41. ^ Human Rights Campaign
  42. ^ Robert Byrd 2006 Campaign
  43. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress - 1st Session
  44. ^ US Senate
  45. ^ [2]
  46. ^ National Journal
  47. ^ ACLU
  48. ^ http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00015
  49. ^ http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/07/sen_byrd_back_on_the_senate_fl.html?hpid=topnews
  50. ^ a b "Top Senate Democrat apologizes for slur", CNN, March 4, 2001.
  51. ^ a b "What About Byrd?". Slate. 2002-12-18. http://www.slate.com/id/2075662. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  52. ^ "Sen. Robert Byrd Discusses His Past and Present", Inside Politics, CNN, December 20, 1993
  53. ^ C-SPAN
  54. ^ Williams, Juan. "Right Time, Right Man?". American Revolutionary.
  55. ^ Johnson, Scott. Saying Goodbye to a Great One, Weekly Standard, June 1, 2005.
  56. ^ Byrd, Robert. Robert Byrd Speaks Out Against the Appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court 10-14-1991, American Voices, October 14, 1991.
  57. ^ The Supreme Court Watch - A Public Service of The Conservative Caucus
  58. ^ NAACP
  59. ^ Robert Byrd Senate Office
  60. ^ "Senate approves Iraq war resolution", CNN, October 11, 2002.
  61. ^ http://byrd.senate.gov/speeches/byrd_speeches_2003march/byrd_speeches_2003march_list/byrd_speeches_2003march_list_2.html
  62. ^ Byrd, Robert (March 23, 2003). Why I weep for my country. The Observer.
  63. ^ Milbank, Dana (May 7, 2003). Explanation for Bush's Carrier Landing Altered. The Washington Post.
  64. ^ CNN
  65. ^ "Sen. Robert Byrd, 90, admitted to hospital". CNN. 2008, February 26. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/26/byrd.hospitalization/index.html. 
  66. ^ J. Taylor Rushing, On June 2, the television network MSNBC reported that Byrd had once again been admitted to the hospital suffering from lethargy and a fever."Byrd sent back to hospital", The Hill, March 5, 2008
  67. ^ "Spokesman says Sen. Robert C. Byrd hospitalized". Yahoo. 2008, June 2. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080603/ap_on_go_co/byrd_hospitalized. 
  68. ^ After third hospital stay, Byrd back to business, The Hill, 2008, June 18, http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/after-third-hospital-stay-byrd-back-to-business-2008-06-18.html 
  69. ^ Farby, Julie (2009-01-20). "Developing: Sens. Kennedy And Byrd Leave Luncheon For Medical Reasons". All Headline News. http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7013776986. 
  70. ^ "Sen. Kennedy OK After Suffering Seizure at Inaugural Lunch". Fox News. 2009-01-20. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/01/20/kennedy-suffers-seizure-inaugural-lunch/. 
  71. ^ "Kennedy stricken at Obama luncheon". msnbc.com. Associated Press. 2009-01-20. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28755439/. 
  72. ^ "Sen. Robert Byrd Hospitalized". The Washington Independent. 2009-05-18. http://washingtonindependent.com/43407/sen-robert-byrd-hospitalized. 
  73. ^ "Sen. Byrd develops staph infection". Herald-Dispatch. 2009-06-01. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/homepage/x2076849009/Sen-Byrd-develops-staph-infection-in-hospital. 
  74. ^ Sen. Byrd released from hospital
  75. ^ Fischer, Karin (March 31, 2006). "Erma Byrd recalled for steadfast nature, Senator's wife to be buried beside grandson in Virginia tomorrow". Charleston Daily Mail. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-9952661.html. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  76. ^ a b c d e f "Erma Ora James Byrd". http://byrd.senate.gov/erma_byrd.html. 
  77. ^ ""Shepherd's New Nursing Building Named in Honor of Sen. Robert Byrd's Wife". Shepherd University. 2007-07-12. http://www.shepherd.edu/university/releases/2007/byrd.html. 
  78. ^ "Sen. Byrd dedicates new WVU Biomedical Research Center". West Virginia University. 2008-08-13. http://www.health.wvu.edu/newsreleases/news-details.aspx?ID=948. 
  79. ^ http://www.tke.org/news/2008/11/20/frater_robert_byrd_celebrates_91st_birthday
  80. ^ Larry King Live, Time frame: 04:05, verified May 9, 2007
  81. ^ 'Gods and Generals'—and Congress

External links

Articles
Political offices
Preceded by
Theodore F. Stevens
Alaska
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
January 3, 2007 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
J. Strom Thurmond
South Carolina
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
Theodore F. Stevens
Alaska
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Succeeded by
J. Strom Thurmond
South Carolina
Preceded by
John C. Stennis
Mississippi
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
1989 – 1995
United States Senate
Preceded by
W. Chapman Revercomb
United States Senator (Class 1) from West Virginia
January 3, 1959 – present
Served alongside: Jennings Randolph, John D. Rockefeller IV
Incumbent
Preceded by
Bob Dole
R-Kansas
United States Senate Majority Leader
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1989
Succeeded by
George J. Mitchell
D-Maine
Preceded by
Howard Baker
R-Tennessee
United States Senate Minority Leader
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Succeeded by
Bob Dole
R-Kansas
Preceded by
Mike Mansfield
D-Montana
United States Senate Majority Leader
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
Succeeded by
Howard Baker
R-Tennessee
Preceded by
Ted Kennedy
D-Massachusetts
United States Senate Majority Whip
January 3, 1971 – January 3, 1977
Succeeded by
Alan Cranston
D-California
Preceded by
W. Thad Cochran
Mississippi
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Daniel Inouye
Hawaii
Preceded by
Theodore F. Stevens
Alaska
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
Theodore F. Stevens
Alaska
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by
John C. Stennis
Mississippi
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
1989 – 1995
Succeeded by
Mark O. Hatfield
Oregon
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
E. H. Hedrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 6th congressional district

1953 – 1959
Succeeded by
John Slack, Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
William C. Marland
Democratic nominee for United States Senator (Class 1) from West Virginia
1958, 1964, 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006
Succeeded by
most recent
Preceded by
Mike Mansfield
Montana
Senate Democratic Leader
1977 – 1989
Succeeded by
George J. Mitchell
Maine
Preceded by
Ted Kennedy
Massachusetts
Senate Democratic Whip
1971 – 1977
Succeeded by
Alan Cranston
California
Preceded by
George Smathers
Florida
Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
1967 – 1971
Succeeded by
Frank Moss
Utah
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Strom Thurmond
South Carolina
Dean of the United States Senate
January 3, 2003 – present
Incumbent
President pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Succeeded by
Theodore F. Stevens
Alaska
Preceded by
George Smathers
Florida
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator
(Sitting or Former)

January 20, 2007 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
John C. Stennis
Mississippi
Most Senior Democratic United States Senator
January 3, 1989 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Susan Rice
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
United States order of precedence
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Succeeded by
Daniel Inouye
United States Senator
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
3rd in line
President pro tempore of the Senate
Succeeded by
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Simple English

Robert C. Byrd
File:Robert Byrd official
Official portrait of Senator Byrd, circa 2003.

In office
January 3, 1959 – June 28, 2010
Preceded by W. Chapman Revercomb
Succeeded by TBD

In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John C. Stennis
Succeeded by Strom Thurmond
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by Strom Thurmond
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
January 3, 2007 – June 28, 2010
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Daniel Inouye

13th and 16th United States Senate Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Mike Mansfield (D)
Succeeded by Howard Baker (R)
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1989
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Bob Dole (R)
Succeeded by George Mitchell (D)

16th United States Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Deputy Alan Cranston
Preceded by Howard Baker (R)
Succeeded by Bob Dole (R)

16th United States Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 1971 – January 3, 1977
Leader Mike Mansfield (D)
Preceded by Ted Kennedy (D)
Succeeded by Alan Cranston (D)

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by E.H. Hedrick
Succeeded by John M. Slack, Jr.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John Stennis
Succeeded by Mark Hatfield
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Thad Cochran
Succeeded by Daniel Inouye

Born November 20, 1917(1917-11-20)
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Died June 28, 2010 (aged 92)
Falls Church, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Erma Ora Byrd (m. 1937–2006; her death)
Children Mona Byrd Fatemi
Marjorie Byrd Moore
Residence Sophia, West Virginia
Alma mater Marshall University
American University – Washington College of Law
Profession Politician, Attorney
Religion American Baptist Church[1][2]
Signature File:Robert C. Byrd
Website U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd

Robert Carlyle Byrd (born November 20, 1917 North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, United States - died June 28, 2010) was dean of the United States Senate until 2010. Byrd, a democrat from West Virginia, was elected in 1958 and serving since January 1959. He served as majority leader from 1977 to 1981 and again from 1987 to 1989. He was also minority leader from 1981 to 1987. Byrd was fourth person in the state (as President pro tempore of the Senate, usually longest serving Senator from majority party) from January 1989 to January 1995, from January 3, 2001 to January 20, 2001 and again from June 2001 to January 2003 and January 2007 until his death in 2010. After Republicans retook control of the Senate, he became the honorary President "pro tempore emeritus" In 2007, Byrd became President Pro Tempore of the Senate again. Before he was elected to the Senate he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 until 1959 (he is dean of all Congress). He is a vocal opponent of President George W. Bush's war in Iraq. In January 2006 he was one of the only four (alongside Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Ken Salazar of Colorado) democratic Senators, who voted for Samuel Alito. Robert Byrd became the longest serving Senator in United States history on June 12, 2006, after serving 17,327 days.[3] Byrd died in 2010 at age 92.

References








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message