TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Brittany Sims on Jun 26, 2014

Former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker died today at his home in Huntsville, the Associated Press reports. He was 88. Baker, who served 18 years in the U.S. Senate, was the first Republican to be popularly elected to the Senate from Tennessee, and later served as a chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan and as U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Baker was a major figure in national politics for many years. During the 1973 Watergate hearings, Baker helped focus a nation’s attention on President Richard Nixon’s involvement, turning what many had seen as a political scandal into a phenomenon that would shake up American politics. In 1984, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. “Howard Baker was Tennessee’s favorite son, one of America’s finest leaders and for Honey and me an indispensable friend,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a statement. “He built our state’s two-party political system and inspired three generations to try to build a better state and country," The Tennessean reports. Baker was also a well-respected lawyer with Baker Donelson, the firm that his grandfather founded. He spoke about the importance of the law and the profession during a 2005 interview for the Tennessee Bar Association.