BARBARA JORDAN, who died yesterday at 59, made a mark on national politics far larger than her three-term service in the House of Representatives would suggest. She entered politics in zTC Texas in an era when women, particularly black women, faced formidable obstacles. It didn't matter. Through the force of her character and oratory she quickly earned respect and stature.
Her time in Congress coincided with the Watergate scandal, and as a member of the House Judiciary Committee she played a key role in the hearings that led eventually to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. When no one was sure where that high-stakes clash of powers would lead, Congresswoman Jordan's booming voice inspired Americans everywhere when she declared during the impeachment debate: "My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."