Ervin, Sam, Jr.

Ervin, (Samuel James) Sam, Jr.

(1896–1985) U.S. senator; born in Morganton, N.C. An expert on constitutional law, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., N.C.; 1946–47) and as a judge before going to the U.S. Senate (1954–74). In the Senate, he opposed civil rights legislation, supported the Vietnam War, and generally favored conservative causes. He won his greatest fame for presiding over the Watergate committee investigation (1973), where his impassioned speeches on the Constitution's restraints on the government raised the hearings and himself above partisan politics and ideology.