Goodbye Clair Callanby Kyle Michaelis
Former Nebraska congressman Clair Callan died Saturday night at Heritage Care Center. He was 85. The Odell native lived with his wife, Joyce, in Fairbury. Friends reported Callan had been sick in recent weeks.History has already proven Callan right on many issues from his days in Congress, for which he paid a political price at the time. Should he be proven correct on Iraq, as the facts (and death toll) already suggest, there will be no similar accounting. He's already paid his dues.
Callan was a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1967. More recently, he made a name for himself in court cases challenging the constitutional legality of President Bush's decision two years ago to go to war in Iraq.
In April, Callan heard from the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear his lawsuit challenging the war. Callan said then that his court battles were over, but believed history would prove him right.
Callan maintained that the courts had abdicated their responsibility in the case, saying the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war is morally, legally and constitutionally wrong.
Callan was the son of a member of the first unicameral Legislature, John Callan. The younger Callan had a hand in helping write history during his two years in Congress. During that time, federal social service programs Medicare and Medicaid were created, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.
Callan will be remembered in Nebraska as a watchdog for the people, said friend Steve Sorum, a Nebraska Ethanol Board project manager. "Clair was a populist in every sense of the word," Sorum said. "He cared deeply about Nebraska and the people in it.
"He was one of the last strong liberals of Nebraska, and he maintained that stance to the very end."
Condolences to Callan's family. As one falls, another shall certainly rise to carry the banner.