Thursday, November 29, 2007

Former Rep. Henry Hyde Dies

Henry Hyde, the former Republican Congressman who represented Chicago's western suburbs for over 30 years had died at 83.

Born in Chicago, Hyde attended Duke University and Georgetown University. He received his law degree from Loyola University. Hyde served in the Navy during World War II, seeing combat in The Philippines. He was a Democrat until the 1950's when he supported Dwight Eisenhower. He served in the Illinois House of Representatives until 1974, when he was elected to Congress. A staunch pro-life politician, he vehemently opposed abortion rights. He served on the House Judiciary Committe since 1975 and chaired the committee from 1995-2001. Hyde is most famous for presiding over the Bill Clinton impeachment trials. Although rather conservative, he supported some gun control, including the Brady Bill and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. He also was skeptical of the Iraq war.

Hyde retired from Congress in 2006. After the Mark Foley scandal broke, some Republicans suggested Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign and be replaced by Hyde for the last few months of the 109th Congress. His seat in suburban Chicago was taken by Republican Pete Roskam, who narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth 51%-49%. Earlier this month, Hyde received the Presidential Media of Freedom.

Hyde underwent open-heart surgery in Chicago in July. He suffered from complications from the surgery which caused him to be hospitalized. Hyde passed away at 3 a.m. He was 83.

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