(1917 - 2008)
Howard Morton Metzenbaum was born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga
County, Ohio, June 4, 1917. He graduated from Ohio State University,
Columbus in 1939 and Ohio State University School of Law in 1941. Metzenbaum
was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1941 and commenced practice in Cleveland.
He served in the Ohio house of representatives (1943-1947) and the Ohio
senate (1947-1951). In 1958, he was the campaign manager for United
States Senator Stephen M. Young. In 1964, he was unsuccessful in his
bid for the U.S. Senate. In 1970, Metzenbaum chaired a group of suburban
weeklies in the Cleveland area. Metzenbaum was appointed by the Governor on
January 4, 1974, to serve as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the
vacancy caused by the resignation of William B. Saxbe. He served from
January 4, 1974 until his resignation December 23, 1974. He was unsuccessful
in his campaign for renomination in 1974 and subsequently resumed the
practice of law. He was then elected on November 2, 1976 to the United
States Senate for the term commencing January 3, 1977, and subsequently
appointed by the Governor, December 29, 1976, to fill the vacancy caused
by the resignation of Robert Taft, Jr. for the term ending January 3,
1983. Metzenbaum was reelected in 1982 and again in 1988 and served
from December 29, 1976 to January 3, 1995. He was not a candidate for
reelection in 1994.
An unapologetic liberal, Metzenbaum helped pass measures to strengthen workers and consumers’ rights, including a bill to provide employees with 60 days’ notice of plant closings. He also promoted the Brady bill, which mandated a waiting period when buying a handgun. Metzenbaum was a frequent critic of big business and earned the nickname “Senator No” for his success in blocking bills he considered overly favorable to special interests. After leaving office, he served as head of the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group.
Metzenbaum died at the age of 90 on March 12, 2008 at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Directory of the United States Congress. Photo U.S. Senate Historical
Office; Reuters (March 13, 2008).