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Edward Kennedy, political patriarch and Judiciary Committee stalwart, dies

Sen. Edward Kennedy passed away at his Hyannis Port, Mass. Home late last night. He was 77.

Kennedy was not only an iconic figure in Washington and a patriarch of the Democratic Party, he also was the longest serving member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee in recent history. During his tenure, he cast committee votes on the nominations of every current Supreme Court justice except Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He also cast committee votes on the nominations for former Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and former nominee Robert Bork. He stepped down from the committee in December this year to focus on the health care debate.

A statement from his family reads:

“Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”

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