Don Edwards, Congressman Who Championed Civil Rights, Dies during 100

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Don Edwards during a conference in Washington in 1975.

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Associated Press

Don Edwards, a former boss of a California Young Republicans who became one of a many magnanimous Democrats in Congress, drafting each polite rights check in a House for dual decades, died on Thursday in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. He was 100.

His son Leonard reliable his death.

Mr. Edwards, an F.B.I. deputy in a 1940s, was also an early competition of a Vietnam War and a champion of polite liberties who took on a F.B.I. on domestic notice and check issues.

He entered Congress in 1963, in time to opinion for a Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a Voting Rights Act of 1965. After apropos authority of a Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on polite and inherent rights, he managed a Equal Rights Amendment on a House building in 1971 and was a building manager for all other polite rights bills.

Effective during operative with Republicans, among them Hamilton Fish Jr. of New York, he was a arch House designer on polite rights bills by a 1991 law that overturned 8 Supreme Court decisions narrowly interpreting a practice rights of women and minorities.

Mr. Edwards was means to work simply with Republicans on rights measures even yet they frequency voted comparison on anything else. He was an all-out magnanimous on issues from a impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon to a 1991 Persian Gulf war.

He late in 1994 with a lifetime rating of 97 percent from a magnanimous Americans for Democratic Action, that he headed from 1965 to 1967. In 20 of his 32 years in Congress, he had a 100 percent score.

He pronounced a many critical of a polite rights bills he rubbed was a 1982 prolongation of a Voting Rights Act. In response to created questions in 2012, he said, “If we can’t vote, we are not a genuine citizen.”

That check was a vital exam since President Ronald Reagan’s administration wanted to finish a routine by that states with histories of taste had to have new choosing laws “pre-cleared” by a Justice Department before they could take effect.

(In 2013, a Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 vote, effectively struck down that territory of a law, pardon 9 states, mostly in a South, to change their choosing laws though allege sovereign approval.)

Ralph G. Neas, afterwards a executive executive of a Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an powerful group, called Mr. Edwards’s care “indispensable” in operative out a check that recorded pre-clearance. Mr. Neas pronounced that by overcoming a Reagan administration on that measure, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Fish set a theatre for several other legislative victories over a subsequent 10 years.

Those successes enclosed a Americans With Disabilities Act and a law that overcame a Supreme Court preference that had singular cutoffs of assist to colleges that discriminated, putting teeth in a Fair Housing Act. “It’s a supernatural polite rights record,” Mr. Neas said.

A longtime co-worker on a Judiciary Committee, Robert W. Kastenmeier, Democrat of Wisconsin, pronounced in 2012, “I don’t consider there was anybody who was as consistent in his support for both polite liberties and polite rights as he.”

William Donlon Edwards was innate on Jan. 6, 1915, in San Jose, Calif. He graduated in 1936 from Stanford University, where he starred on a golf team. He played into his 90s. In 1950, he won a Bing Crosby Clambake during Pebble Beach as an pledge teamed with a veteran golfer Marty Furgol.

After attending law propagandize during Stanford, he upheld a bar in 1939 and became an F.B.I. deputy a subsequent year. He assimilated a Navy in 1942 and served as an comprehension officer ashore and afterwards as a gunnery officer on fast, armed load ships.

After being liberated in 1945, he assimilated his father’s land pretension firm. But when he divorced his initial wife, his father, who disapproved of a divorce, forced him out. So in 1951, Mr. Edwards founded a Valley Title Insurance Company with his second wife. It prospered.

He became politically active in a 1950s, initial as boss of a California Young Republicans while Earl Warren, a assuage Republican, was governor. “But a Republicans were mostly too conservative,” he pronounced in 2012, “and we was fundamentally liberal. we became artificial and changed divided from a party.”

When California’s flourishing competition led to a origination of 8 new congressional districts in 1962, Mr. Edwards ran in one in San Jose. In a four-way Democratic primary, he perceived 35.9 percent of a opinion and won by 726 votes over Mayor John Stevenson of Fremont. He won a ubiquitous choosing simply and never had a tighten competition again.

One of his initial moves in a House was to join a tiny organisation of liberals in perplexing to annul a Un-American Activities Committee, that critics pronounced dirty people though finding any rebellious activities. He persisted until he succeeded in 1975.

His impasse in polite rights took on a personal note in 1964, when he visited Sunflower County, Miss., where his son Leonard was operative to register African-American voters. Mr. Edwards was incompetent to convince internal officials to register them. But after returning to Washington, he helped blacks in that district win sovereign housing grants, something their possess representative, who was white, had not done.

Mr. Edwards incited opposite President Lyndon B. Johnson over a fight in Vietnam and was a initial House member to behind Senator Eugene J. McCarthy’s 1968 debate opposite him.

Despite his F.B.I. background, Mr. Edwards was not a believer of a director, J. Edgar Hoover. In 2012, he pronounced one of a initial things he had finished in a House was to have a F.B.I. audited. The F.B.I. argued that a skill it confiscated equivalent all a losses and that a business “cost a taxpayers nothing.’’

“They attempted to contend they couldn’t be audited, though they were,” Mr. Edwards said, “and it incited out they were counting such things as a face value of tawdry money.” Such doubt of a agency, he added, “set a theatre for J. Edgar and my longstanding differences of opinion.”

The animosity was clear in 1969, when Mr. Edwards pronounced he would not run again. Years later, when Mr. Edwards found a journal essay about that preference in his F.B.I. record on that Hoover had written, “Good riddance,” he hung it proudly in his Washington apartment.

Besides Leonard, Mr. Edwards is survived by 3 other sons, Samuel, Bruce and Thomas.

His initial dual marriages finished in divorce. His third wife, Edith Wilkie, died in 2011 after 29 years of marriage. He is also survived by 4 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Mr. Edwards’s efforts to urge and foster polite liberties were not always as successful as his anti-discrimination work. For example, over his protests, a House upheld a 1981 check creation it a crime to divulge a C.I.A. agent’s identity.

But he led successful fights to quell a F.B.I.’s notice activities and used his subcommittee to bury due inherent amendments on flag-burning, busing, termination and a offset sovereign budget. That record, pronounced Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who was a co-worker in a House for many years, done him “the purest polite libertarian” in a House. Mr. Frank called him “a still zealot” for giveaway speech.

In 1994, Mr. Edwards summed adult his record to The San Jose Mercury News. “It is a overwhelming incentive of supervision to assume some-more power,” he said. “My purpose has been to contend no.”