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Wednesday, February 10, 1999 Published at 14:07 GMT


Tough Hyde

Online: Henry Hyde on the Judicary Committee's homepage

Henry Hyde, the flamboyant chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, is a conservative who has been in office for 24 years.


[ image: Mr Hyde has kept a strong stand against abortion]
Mr Hyde has kept a strong stand against abortion
A former lawyer, who represents Illinois, the 74-year-old Mr Hyde' strong stand against abortion was demonstrated in the amendment named after him, which forbids the use of federal government funds for abortion services.

But his conservative credentials took a knock when, shortly after the publication of the Starr report, the Internet magazine Salon revealed he had conducted a five-year affair with a married woman in the 1960s.

Mr Hyde, who was also married at the time, admitted the affair with Cherie Snodgrass but said he had been the victim of muck raking.


[ image: Henry Hyde and Cherie Snodgrass in the 1960s]
Henry Hyde and Cherie Snodgrass in the 1960s
Despite being a right-winger, Mr Hyde is respected in both parties as being an eloquent man of principle. At 6ft 3ins, the former basketball player makes his presence felt.

Indeed, Californian Democrat Maxine Walters, who is also on the committtee, told the Washington Post: "He's absolutely fair on process. So if I had to have a Republican in charge, I would choose him - given the selection."

And respected commentator Cokie Roberts said in 1988: "What you've got to realise is that Henry Hyde is one of the smartest men who ever walked."

Remained reticent

Mr Hyde stood up against attempts by Mr Gingrich to establish a smaller group of Republicans to inspect Starr's report before it reached the committee.

He has not commented widely on attitudes to the Lewinsky affair, except to say that it was his committee's "constitutional duty to provide a fair, full and independent review of these facts in their proper context".



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