The Austin Chronicle

The Brooks Papers

By Richard Whittaker, March 21, 2008, 1:51pm, Newsdesk

Great news for policy wonks with a yearning for archives: On Monday, the UT Austin Center for American History will formally announce it will be accepting the congressional papers of former U.S. Congressman Jack Brooks.

If you don't know who Jack Brooks is, a quick primer. The former Democratic state rep for Beaumont and a 42-year U.S. congressman, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee in 1992, he pushed to investigate the bizarre INSLAW case. A long-time NRA supporter, he also sponsored the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, better known as the federal assault weapon ban. Brooks was also the second-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. He helped craft the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Before that, he was in the motorcade behind Pres. John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and sat with Vice-Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson in the waiting room at Parkland Hospital as Kenny O'Donnell told the future-president that his boss was in a "bad way." He was a friend to LBJ and to other notables Texas Democrats, like House Speaker Sam Rayburn. And he still lives in Beaumont.

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