“The passing of Senator Robert C. Byrd is a sad day for America and for the U.S. Senate. During his 57 years of congressional service, Robert Byrd was the watchdog of the Senate, fiercely fighting to protect the constitutional powers of the legislative branch, particularly in an era of growing executive power. During his long congressional career, his values and views evolved so that he became a strong supporter of civil rights and also a great defender of the environment and protector of the natural beauty of West Virginia.
“Those of us who had the privilege of serving with him knew he was one of the greatest historians of the Senate and also a great teacher. He often quoted Milton, Shakespeare and Homer to illustrate a greater point about power and the prerogatives of the Senate. He also had no fear of doing battle with presidents if he thought they were wrong. He was one of the strongest Senate voices against the Iraqi War and he was prophetic in his prediction that the war would be a costly mistake to our nation.
“My prayers and thoughts are with Senator Byrd’s family and the State of West Virginia. I join all Americans in mourning the loss of this great statesman.”