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Roman Hruska
United States Senator
from Nebraska
In office
November 8, 1954 – December 27, 1976
Preceded bySamuel W. Reynolds
Succeeded byEdward Zorinsky
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – November 8, 1954
Preceded byHoward Buffett
Succeeded byJackson B. Chase
Personal details
Roman Lee Hruska

(1904-08-16)August 16, 1904
David City, Nebraska
DiedApril 25, 1999(1999-04-25) (aged 94)
Omaha, Nebraska
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Victoria Kuncl Hruska
ChildrenJana Hruska
Quenton Hruska
Roman Hruska, Jr.
Alma materUniversity of Omaha
University of Chicago
Creighton University

Roman Lee Hruska /ˈrʌskə/ (August 16, 1904 – April 25, 1999) was a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Nebraska. Hruska was known as one of the most vocal conservatives in the United States Senate during the 1960s and 1970s.

Hruska was also co-founder of the Douglas Theatre Company, based in Nebraska.

Life and career

Hruska was born in David City, Nebraska, one of 11 children of Czech immigrant parents. In 1917, his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he graduated from high school. He attended the University of Omaha (now University of Nebraska–Omaha) and the University of Chicago Law School and graduated from the Creighton University School of Law in 1929. He returned to Omaha to practice law.[1]

In 1944, Hruska first entered politics when he accepted a seat on the Douglas County, Nebraska, Board of Commissioners in place of a friend who recently resigned. He served as a regular member from 1944 to 1945 and as chair from 1945 to 1952.[1] During his time on the board of commissioners, Hruska also sat on the advisory committee of the Nebraska Board of Control from 1947 to 1952.[2] He was president of the Nebraska Association of County Officials from 1950 to 1951 and vice president of the National Association of County Officials from 1951 to 1952.[2]

Hruska was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the Omaha-dominated second district of Nebraska in 1952. He served only part of one term, as he ran for a United States Senate seat in 1954, which was vacated by the death of Hugh Butler.[1] Hruska won, and was reelected in 1958, 1964 and 1970 and served in the Senate until his retirement in 1976. His opponent in 1958 and 1970 was Frank B. Morrison. Hruska did not run for reelection to a fourth full term.

Even after Nixon resigned, Hruska defended him and claimed Watergate only became a scandal as part of a partisan effort to attack Nixon.[3]

Hruska became an influential member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hruska voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[4] 1960,[5] 1964,[6] and 1968,[7] as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,[8] the Voting Rights Act of 1965,[9] and the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court.[9][10] Though Congress was controlled by Democrats for his entire time in the Senate, he was known as a skillful legislator, and was said to have influenced much of the federal criminal justice system's changes during his era. He was the ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee at the time of his retirement.

On October 10, 1978, President Carter signed into law a bill which renamed the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) located in Clay County, Nebraska, after former Senator Roman L. Hruska. The Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse in Omaha is also named in his honor.


In 1970, Hruska addressed the Senate, urging them to confirm Richard Nixon's nomination of G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. Responding to criticism that Carswell had been a mediocre judge, Hruska argued:

Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.[11]

Democrats seized upon Hruska's remarks, and the Carswell nomination failed.[11]


Hruska moved back to Omaha in 1976, and lived there until his death. On April 10, 1999, he fell, broke his hip, and died fifteen days later from complications during treatment. He was buried in Bohemian Cemetery in Omaha.

Personal life

Hruska was married to Victoria Kuncl Hruska. They had three children: Jana, Quentin and Roman, Jr.


  1. ^ a b c Pearson, Richard (April 27, 1999). "Sen. Roman Hruska Dies at 94". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Hruska, Roman Lee (1904-1999)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  3. ^ "Hruska dead at 94". Columbus Telegram. April 26, 1999. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "HR. 6127. Civil Rights Act of 1957".
  5. ^ "HR. 8601. Passage of Amended Bill".
  6. ^ "HR. 7152. PASSAGE".
  7. ^ "To Pass H.r. 2516, a Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Sale or Rental of Housing, and to Prohibit Racially Motivated Interference with a Person Exercising His Civil Rights, and for Other Purposes".
  8. ^ "S.J. Res. 29. Approval of Resolution Banning the Poll Tax as Prerequisite for Voting in Federal Elections".
  9. ^ a b "To Pass S. 1564, the Voting Rights Act of 1965".
  10. ^ "Confirmation of Nomination of Thurgood Marshall, the First Negro Appointed to the Supreme Court".
  11. ^ a b William H. Hohan (April 27, 1999). "Roman L. Hruska Dies at 94; Leading Senate Conservative". The New York Times. p. B8. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Hugh A. Butler
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nebraska
(Class 1)

1954, 1958, 1964, 1970
Succeeded by
John Y. McCollister
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard Buffett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jackson B. Chase
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Samuel W. Reynolds
 U.S. senator (Class 1) from Nebraska
Served alongside: Hazel Abel, Carl T. Curtis
Succeeded by
Edward Zorinsky
This page was last edited on 5 August 2020, at 05:02
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