The U.S. senator who was responsible for the creation and passage of Title IX, Birch Bayh, passed away last week from pneumonia and other medical issues. While Title IX was one of his signature pieces of legislation, it was far from the only law that he helped create and paled in comparison to some of the other events in his incredibly interesting life.
The “Father of Title IX”
During his 18 years representing the state of Indiana in the Senate, Birch Bayh was responsible for numerous pieces of legislation. Title IX, though, was the law that he is most often associated with because he was so prominent in its progress through the political system.
While the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was coming close, but eventually failing, to be ratified by states in the 1970s, Bayh got the ERA's provision regarding equal rights in higher education amended to the Higher Education Act of 1965. This amendment would eventually become Title IX.
Bayh, however, recognized that the vaguely worded amendment was far from a finished product. Since the passage of Title IX, though, little has been done to solidify anything beyond those first steps and the goals outlined by the law.
Bayh's Other Constitutional Amendments
Bayh was serving on the Judicial Committee when the chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments died of a heart attack. Despite being in the very beginning of his first term in the Senate, Bayh took over the Subcommittee and helped to draft and pass two of the most recent amendments made to the U.S. Constitution – the 25th and 26th Amendments.
The 25th Amendment solidified what would happen, should the U.S. President be incapacitated. Introduced by Bayh in December 1963, as a reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy, it passed in 1965 and was ratified in 1967, and established the transition of power.
The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. It was passed and ratified in 1971 in a little over three months – the quickest ratification process of all of the amendments to the Constitution – and made Bayh the only person other than the Founding Fathers to have drafted more than one amendment.
Deadly Plane Crash
None of this would have happened, though, if Bayh had not survived the plane crash that crippled his friend and fellow senator Ted Kennedy in 1964, and killed two others.
After staying in Washington to vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Kennedy, Bayh, Bayh's wife, and a member of Kennedy's staff flew on a private plane to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. Heavy fog led to a plane crash during landing, killing the pilot and the staffer. Bayh pulled Kennedy from the wreckage. Kennedy would go on to serve 45 more years in the Senate.
Title IX Defense Lawyer and National Advisor Joseph D. Lento
Despite Bayh's passing, the effects of the laws for which he advocated continue. In the context of Title IX, this includes the struggle between opposing interests of keeping victims of sexual misconduct safe and ensuring the accused get the due process they deserve.
Title IX defense lawyer and national Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento strives to make that a reality by representing and guiding those who have been accused of sexual misconduct on campus. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.