If ever an individual was inseparably identified with an institution, it was Robert C. Byrd and the U.S. Senate.
Indeed, he wrote a four-volume history of the Senate and was a master of its arcane rules and procedures, which made him a dangerous legislator to cross. He held almost every position in that body worth having, including majority leader, minority leader and president pro tem, which made him third in line for the presidency.
West Virginia first elected Byrd to the Senate in 1958 and did for the last time in 2006; even though he was infirm and beginning to ail physically, the state easily re-elected him to a record ninth term. He was the chamber's longest-serving member when he died Monday at 92.