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Former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh Dies at 91

The senator authored two Constitutional amendments.

EASTON, Md.--Former United States Senator from Indiana, Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), author of the 25th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and author of Title IX of the Higher Education Act, died shortly after midnight at his home in Easton, Md. He was 91. 

His family said in a statement that he had pneumonia.

The family said he was "one of the last surviving leaders of a heroic age in American progressive politics.

"Though Birch Bayh left his indelible mark on our Constitution, our universities, and the history of the United States Senate, he was first and always a Hoosier.  Maureen and I are praying for the Bayh family in this difficult time," said U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.).

Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags at half staff until Bayh's funeral. At date has not been set for that yet.

Bayh was the father for former governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh.

During his three terms representing Indiana in the Senate (1963-1981), Sen. Bayh was a moving force behind some of the most successful and influential congressional legislation of the Twentieth Century, said a bio released by his family. 

He was respected by senators and politicians who were both Democrat and Republican.

Arriving in Washington in the Kennedy years, the 34-year-old senator from Indiana stepped into the vanguard of efforts to secure civil rights for African Americans, co-sponsoring the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. Later, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he led the successful efforts to defeat President Nixon’s nominations of two segregationist judges, Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell, to the Supreme Court. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights honored Senator Bayh with its highest award for “his unyielding dedication to human equality and civil freedom.” 
 
At his death, Senator Bayh was the last surviving person to have cast a vote in the Senate for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the last surviving person to have served in the Senate during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, who campaigned for him in Indiana in 1962.

 

PHOTO: Owen Franken/Getty Images

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