THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 91
(House of Representatives - June 09, 2016)

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[Pages H3575-H3576]
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                      THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I am a Member of the United States 
Congress and a very--I hate to use the term proud, but I am proud to 
have been a member of the Judiciary Committee for the number of years 
that I have served in this august place.
  As I serve, I am well aware of the importance of the Constitution and 
the very sacred responsibility that we have in protecting it. So I 
thought that, as a lawyer who has practiced and one who has served as 
an associate municipal court judge in my hometown of Houston, Texas, it 
would be important to remind Members of the established three branches 
of government and the responsibilities that each hold, but focus in 
particular on the executive--the President of the United States.
  In Article II, the Constitution, says: ``The executive Power shall be 
vested in a President of the United States of America.'' It uses the 
term that ``he should hold,'' and, in particular, it acknowledges that 
he or she should take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
  Article III establishes our judicial power. In particular, with 
respect to Federal courts: ``all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising 
under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties 
made, under their Authority.''
  All of these cases have jurisdiction under our Federal court system. 
So, the Federal courts and jurists are of keen importance.
  One would wonder how we establish the need for the rule of law and 
separation of powers. It came first from 1215, King John's Magna Carta, 
which indicated that no one should be imprisoned, dispossessed, 
outlawed, exiled, or in any way destroyed, except by lawful judgment of 
his peers and the law of the land.
  I know that when I sat as a member of the bench, I would look at 
petitioners and I would hope that even though my history was that of a 
former slave, being an African American--when I say a former slave, 
descendants of such; the history of African Americans is such--and I 
would hope that my background would not have countered the fairness 
that I would have rendered to anyone who came before me.
  Judicial independence is something that we hold dear. The Founders 
understood that judges who are able to apply the law freely and fairly 
are essential to the rule of law.
  The Constitution guarantees our rights on paper, but this would mean 
nothing without independent courts to protect them. That means our 
judges in the Federal system should not be intimidated or influenced or 

[[Page H3576]]

from the influence of the other branches, as well as shifting popular 
  This insulation is referred to as judicial independence. It allows 
our Federal judges to make decisions based on what is right under the 
law, without facing politics, such as not getting reelected; or, 
personal, such as getting fired or having their salary lowered.
  As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I have often joined with the 
late Henry Hyde, then the chairman, who wanted to raise the salaries of 
our Federal judges.
  So I think it is imperative to come before this body, my colleagues, 
to raise great angst when someone's ethnicity is called out as a reason 
that they cannot be fair.
  I am appalled that we have come to this in 2016, where, if I were to 
symbolically ascend to a Federal bench, or maybe the colleagues who 
many of us and the Senate have supported and the President has 
nominated--the diverse bench that represents Asians, Hispanics, African 
Americans, and women and men, Anglos, Caucasians--anyone would raise a 
  I have been before a court and not welcomed the decision. There have 
been many reasons why I was not pleased with that decision. But I could 
not raise the question of race.
  And so I think it is worth condemning that we would have this kind of 
public discourse where the race of a Federal judge is raised. Remember 
what I said: judicial independence warrants that we, in fact, cannot 
intimidate the bench and not, in fact, deny the freedom of the court to 
decide cases based on facts and the law, not based on public opinion, 
the views of special interests groups, or even a judge's own personal 
  The right of every citizen to a fair trial is a cornerstone of our 
democracy. Why should anyone be diminished, and why should the 
petitioner independently attempt to intimidate based on race? It is 
appalling. It is absurd.
  So I ask all of my colleagues, as protectors of the Constitution and 
people who are here making laws, to independently go out to the 
highways and byways of life and condemn those words. Need I say who it 
is? Condemn those words and condemn this kind of discourse.
  I would offer to say that anyone who has said those words and who 
pretends to put themselves forward to uphold this Constitution is 
disqualified and unfit.
  I would hope that we will have an independent executive under the 
Constitution, an independent legislative branch, and, of course, an 
independent judiciary--one of which I respect with the highest of 
  I will close by simply saying I have won cases; I have saved a 
hospital. I have lost cases. I have been affected by cases in my 
redistricting and denied the rights of the Voting Rights Act. But I 
will never undermine and diminish the Constitution for right cases and 
wrong cases, ever.
  I ask my colleagues to condemn those actions.