American politician Henry John Hyde (April 18, 1924 – November 29, 2007) represented the 6th District of Illinois, a region of Chicago’s northwest suburbs, as a Republican in the US House of Representatives from 1975 to 2007.
Between 1995 and 2001, he presided over the Judiciary Committee, and between 2001 and 2007, he presided over the House International Relations Committee. He is best known for penning the Hyde Amendment because he was an outspoken opponent of abortion. Let’s uncover more about Henry Hyde’s political career, bio, wiki, achievements, and death in this article.
His Early Life:
Hyde, the son of Henry Clay Hyde and Monica (Kelly), was born in Chicago. His mother was a Catholic from Ireland, while his father was English. His family was Democratic Party voters. In 1942, Hyde received his high school diploma from St. George high school.
He attended Duke University, where he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity, graduated from Georgetown University, and earned his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Hyde participated in basketball with the Georgetown Hoyas, where he contributed to the team’s 1943 championship run.
Hyde’s marriage and children:
He and Jeanne Simpson Hyde got married in 1947, and they had four children and four grandchildren together. His wife passed away in 1992.
His extramarital affair:
It was discovered that Hyde had an extramarital relationship with married Cherie Snodgrass while he was leading the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hyde acknowledged the contact and described it as a “youthful indiscretion.” He had been married for 41 years at the time of the affair.
In World War II, Hyde served in the Navy. From 1946 to 1968, he remained a member of the Naval Reserve, serving as the commanding officer of the Chicago-based U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserve Unit. He left the military as a Commander. Hyde joined the Knights of Columbus in 1955 and belonged to Elmhurst, Illinois, Father McDonald Council 1911.
His career in politics:
After his college years, Hyde’s political inclinations started to shift to the right. He switched to Republicanism in 1952 and backed Dwight Eisenhower for president. In 1962, he ran for Congress for the first time but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Roman Pucinski in the 11th District.
Hyde was chosen to represent Illinois in the House of Representatives in 1967, and from 1971 to 1972, he was the majority leader.
He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1974, one of the few bright spots in what was a dismal year for Republicans in the wake of the Watergate scandal. He served in the Illinois House until that time. Edward Hanrahan, a former state’s attorney for Cook County, was his fiercest opponent, but he won by 8,000 votes.
Legislation and political stances:
One of the most outspoken and steadfast opponents of abortion in American politics, Hyde served as the main proponent of the House Appropriations bill‘s eponymous Hyde Amendment, which forbade the use of government funds to pay for elective abortions through Medicaid.
When the National Pro-Life Political Action Committee’s executive director, Peter Gemma, published a “hit list” to target members of both chambers of Congress who supported abortion rights in 1981, he and U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah, another opponent of abortion, left the organization.
Hyde, who was an early supporter of the Brady Bill mandating background checks for gun purchasers, split from his party in 1994 by endorsing a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons. Hyde, who was one of the law’s original proponents, claimed it encouraged “capitalism with a human face.”
Hyde spent the entirety of his time in the House as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. From 1995 until 2001, he served as its chairman. During that time, he was the trial’s main manager for President Clinton’s impeachment.
Hyde served as the top Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence from 1985 to 1991. In 2003, Hyde and the Committee’s top Democrat, U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), drafted historic foreign aid legislation that established the Millennium Challenge Corporation and increased U.S. financing for successful microenterprise programs.
Crisis at Savings and Loan:
Hyde joined the board of directors of Clyde Federal Savings and Loan in 1981 after resigning from the House Banking Committee. The company’s chairman was a supporter of Hyde’s political campaigns.
As per Salon.com
Hyde promoted the savings and loan’s investment in riskier financial possibilities from 1982 until he resigned from the board in 1984. Federal authorities placed Clyde under receivership in 1990 and paid $67 million to cover insured deposits.
The Resolution Trust Corporation filed a $17.2 million lawsuit against Hyde and the other directors in 1993.
The government reached a settlement with the defendants for $850,000 four years later, before the pretrial inquiry and depositions, and made a deal exempting Hyde from paying anything.
Hyde was the only congressman to be sued for “gross negligence” in an S&L failure.
Probe into Iran-Contra:
Hyde fiercely defended the Ronald Reagan government and several of the individuals who had been accused of different crimes while serving on the congressional panel looking into the Iran-Contra incident, especially Oliver North. Hyde used Thomas Jefferson in support of his claim that even though several people had lied in testimony before Congress, their acts were justified since they supported the struggle against communism.
Impeachment of Clinton:
Hyde testified in November 1998 during a hearing for special counsel Ken Starr’s inquiry into President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Hyde claimed that the House should impeach Bill Clinton for perjury under the constitution and civic responsibility.
Perjury and obstruction of justice were the two allegations that led to Clinton’s impeachment by the House. At the President’s trial in the Senate, Hyde acted as the principal prosecutor.
President Clinton was cleared of lying and obstructing justice despite Hyde’s efforts. Only 45 senators voted in favor of conviction on the perjury allegation and only 50 did so on the obstruction of justice accusation, both of which required a two-thirds majority.
The Iraq War and 9/11:
Hyde participated in some of the most important discussions about how to respond to the September 11 attacks in 2001 while serving as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Hyde warned against striking Iraq without concrete proof of Iraqi involvement following the September 11, 2001 attacks, telling CNN’s Robert Novak that it “would be a terrible mistake.” But a year later, on October 10, 2002, he voted in favor of the House resolution that gave the administration the go-ahead to wage war against Iraq.
With no significant challengers, Hyde won 15 consecutive reelections. This was primarily due to his district’s gradual encroachment into DuPage County, a longtime stronghold of suburban Republicanism. Hyde’s 2004 Democratic opponent Christine Cegelis won almost 44% of the vote, making it his closest campaign since his first bid for the position. However, after the turn of the century, the demographics of his district changed.
Hyde declared on his website on April 18, 2005—his 81st birthday—that he will step down when his term ends (in January 2007). A few days prior, it had been reported that Illinois Republicans were anticipating this news and that Peter Roskam, a state senator from Illinois, had become one of the front-runners for the party’s candidate. Hyde gave Roskam his support as his successor in August 2005.
His honorary achievements:
Pope Benedict XVI honored Hyde with the title of Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2006 for his long-standing advocacy of political causes significant to the Roman Catholic Church. On November 5, 2007, President Bush presented Hyde with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Hyde was resting in a hospital after having open heart surgery, thus he was unable to be present for the event.
Following complications from open heart surgery at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois, Hyde died on November 29, 2007, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Many dignitaries, including Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House, and John Boehner, the future Speaker of the House, attended his funeral Mass, which was celebrated by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Saint Charles, Illinois.