On June 3, 1813, a standing committee on the Judiciary was established by the House of Representatives to consider legislation relating to judicial proceedings. In 1813, U.S. Representative Charles Ingersoll became the first Chairman of the full Judiciary Committee.
From 1813 until today, there had never been a woman chosen to serve as the Chair or the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. As of last week, Houstonians have a reason to be proud, because history has been made over 200 years later.
U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) has made history by becoming the first woman of either party, Democrat or Republican, to be named the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, which is the prestigious Subcommittee of the historic House Judiciary Committee.
Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan served on the full committee as a member of the Judiciary Committee, but never served as a Ranking Member.
By becoming the Ranking Member, Congresswoman Jackson Lee not only becomes the first woman to be Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, she will also be the first African American woman to be Ranking Member on that committee. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has six subcommittees and is the sixth woman to serve on the House Judiciary Committee since its establishment.
“There is such a thing as timing and moments,” said Jackson Lee. “With all we’ve gone through in this country, I hear the concerns of the people who seek to have equal justice and I also understand the importance of empowering our members of law enforcement. There are many things that must be fixed and we are in a very serious time in U.S. history and I feel extremely humbled and honored to lead this prestigious and important subcommittee.”
The Committee on the Judiciary has been called “the lawyer” for the House of Representatives because of its jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies. Particularly important in our time is the Committee’s oversight responsibility for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
Since inception, the scope of the Committee on the Judiciary has expanded to include not only civil and criminal judicial proceedings and Federal courts and judges, but also issues relating to bankruptcy, espionage, terrorism, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional amendments, immigration and naturalization, interstate compacts, claims against the United States, national penitentiaries, Presidential succession, antitrust law, revision and codification of the statutes of the United States, state and territorial boundary lines and patents, copyrights and trademarks.
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