|Chair of the House Judiciary Committee|
January 3, 1989 - January 3, 1995
|Peter W. Rodino|
|Chair of the House Government Operations Committee|
January 3, 1975 - January 3, 1989
|Chester E. Holifield|
|John Conyers (as Chair of Oversight Committee)|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 1953 - January 3, 1995
|Jesse M. Combs|
|Constituency||2nd district (1953-1967)|
9th district (1967-1995)
|Member of the|
Texas House of Representatives
for District 16-1
|William L. Smith|
|William C. Ross Sr.|
Jack Bascom Brooks
December 18, 1922
Crowley, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||December 4, 2012 (aged 89)|
Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
Charlotte Collins (m. 1960)
|Education||University of Texas at Austin|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Jack Bascom Brooks (December 18, 1922 – December 4, 2012) was an American politician from Texas who served in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from 1953 to 1995. Defeated in 1994, Brooks was the most senior representative ever to have lost a general election.
Brooks was born in Crowley, Louisiana. His family moved to Beaumont, Texas, when he was five years old. He attended public schools and enrolled in Lamar Junior College in 1939 after receiving a scholarship. He majored in journalism and transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1943. He was a member of the Texas Cowboys service organization. In 1949, while a member of the Texas Legislature, he earned a degree from the University of Texas Law School.
Brooks enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He served for about two years on the Pacific islands of Guadalcanal, Guam, Okinawa, and in North China. By the time he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1972 he had reached the rank of colonel. On his office desk, Brooks kept a silver paperweight with the inscription "Fighting Marine".
A lifelong Democrat, Brooks was elected in 1946 to represent Jefferson County in the Texas House of Representatives. After his election he sponsored a bill that would make Lamar Junior College a four-year institution. The bill initially failed, but passed the following year. He won re-election to the state legislature in 1948 without opposition.
In 1952, Brooks was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas's 2nd congressional district. In 1966, the 2nd was redistricted as the 9th district. Brooks was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Government Operations from 1975 through 1988, and of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary from 1989 until 1995. He also served on the Select Committee on Congressional Operations, the Joint Committee on Congressional Operations, and the Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security. In 1979, he became the senior member of the Texas congressional delegation, a position which he maintained for fifteen years.
Brooks was conservative on some issues like the death penalty and gun control, but more liberal on issues like domestic spending, labor, and civil rights. In 1956, he refused to sign the Southern Manifesto that opposed racial integration in public places. Brooks was one of the few Southern congressmen to support civil rights legislation; as a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, he helped to write the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
One of Brooks' signature bills required competitive bidding for federal computing contracts. The Brooks Act of 1965 is often cited as being a catalyst for technological advances. In 1967, Brooks opposed the move of the US Patent Office to attempt to introduce guidelines for software patentability.
As the leader of the Government Operations Committee, Brooks oversaw legislation affecting budget and accounting matters, and the establishment of departments and agencies. He also helped pass the Inspector General Act of 1978, the General Accounting Office Act of 1980, the Paper Reduction Act of 1980, and the Single Audit Act of 1984.
In 1988, Brooks' influence was made prominent by his unusual involvement in trade policy. He introduced a spending bill amendment that banned Japanese companies from U.S. public works projects for one year. He said that he was motivated by continuing signs that the Japanese government "intended to blatantly discriminate against U.S. firms in awarding public works contracts." House Majority Leader Tom Foley of Washington, who opposed the amendment, said Brooks "is one of the most powerful and effective chairmen in Congress."
Brooks' sponsorship of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which eventually was incorporated with an amendment to ban semi-automatic firearms, probably contributed to his electoral defeat by Republican Steve Stockman, despite Brooks' life membership in the National Rifle Association and his personal opposition to the ban.
On November 22, 1963, Brooks was in the motorcade carrying U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy through downtown Dallas, Texas, when Kennedy was assassinated. Brooks was a contemporary of Lyndon B. Johnson, who was a U.S. Senator before becoming vice-president to Kennedy. He was present on Air Force One at Dallas Love Field when Johnson was sworn in as president after Kennedy's death.
He was a leader in the investigation that uncovered millions of dollars in public funds expended at the vacation homes of President Richard Nixon. Following the Watergate scandal in 1974, Brooks drafted the articles of impeachment later adopted by the House Judiciary Committee. For this reason, Nixon called Brooks his "executioner."
|Texas House of Representatives|
William L. Smith
| Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 16-1 (Beaumont)
William C. Ross Sr.
Chester E. Holifield
| Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee
Peter W. Rodino
| Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Jesse M. Combs
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district
Clark W. Thompson
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th congressional district