United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

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Senate Judiciary Committee
Standing committee
Active
Seal of the United States Senate.svg
United States Senate
116th Congress
History
FormedDecember 10, 1816
Leadership
Chair Lindsey Graham (R)
Since January 3, 2019
Ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D)
Since January 3, 2017
Structure
Seats22 members
Political partiesMajority (12)
Minority (10)
Jurisdiction
Policy areas Federal judiciary, civil procedure, criminal procedure, civil liberties, copyrights, patents, trademarks, naturalization, constitutional amendments, congressional apportionment, state and territorial boundary lines
Oversight authority Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, federal judicial nominations
House counterpart House Committee on the Judiciary
Meeting place
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
Dirksen226.jpg
Website
judiciary.senate.gov
Rules
    Sonia Sotomayor testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her nomination for the United States Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor on first day of confirmation hearings.jpg
    Sonia Sotomayor testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her nomination for the United States Supreme Court

    The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, informally the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of 22 U.S. Senators whose role is to oversee the Department of Justice (DOJ), consider executive nominations, and review pending legislation. [1] [2]

    In the United States Congress, standing committees are permanent legislative panels established by the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate rules. Because they have legislative jurisdiction, standing committees consider bills and issues and recommend measures for consideration by their respective chambers. They also have oversight responsibility to monitor agencies, programs, and activities within their jurisdictions, and in some cases in areas that cut across committee jurisdictions. Due to their permanent nature, these committees exist beyond the adjournment of each two-year meeting of Congress.

    Contents

    The Judiciary Committee's oversight of the DOJ includes all of the agencies under the DOJ's jurisdiction, such as the FBI. It also has oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Committee considers presidential nominations for positions in the DOJ, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the State Justice Institute, and certain positions in the Department of Commerce and DHS. It is also in charge of holding hearings and investigating judicial nominations to the Supreme Court, the U.S. court of appeals, the U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade. [1] The Standing Rules of the Senate confer jurisdiction to the Senate Judiciary Committee in certain areas, such as considering proposed constitutional amendments and legislation related to federal criminal law, human rights law, immigration, intellectual property, antitrust law, and internet privacy. [1] [3]

    Office of National Drug Control Policy

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy is a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

    The State Justice Institute (SJI) is a private, nonprofit corporation that awards grants to improve judicial administration in the state courts of the United States. It was created by the State Justice Institute Act of 1984.

    Supreme Court of the United States highest court in the United States

    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases, such as suits between two or more states, and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about 100–150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review.

    History

    Established in 1816 as one of the original standing committees in the United States Senate, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is one of the oldest and most influential committees in Congress. Its broad legislative jurisdiction has assured its primary role as a forum for the public discussion of social and constitutional issues. The Committee is also responsible for oversight of key activities of the executive branch, and is responsible for the initial stages of the confirmation process of all judicial nominations for the federal judiciary. [4]

    Members, 116th Congress

    MajorityMinority


    Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, is the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham, Official Portrait 2006.jpg
    Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, is the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Historical membership

    Members, 115th Congress

    MajorityMinority

    In January 2018, the Democratic minority had their number of seats increase from 9 to 10 upon the election of Doug Jones (D-AL), changing the 52–48 Republican majority to 51–49. On January 2, 2018, Al Franken, who had been a member of the committee, resigned from the Senate following accusations of sexual misconduct.

    Doug Jones (politician) US Senator and lawyer from Alabama

    Gordon Douglas Jones is an American attorney, former prosecutor and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Alabama since 2018. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously was a United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997 to 2001.

    Al Franken American comedian and politician

    Alan Stuart Franken is an American comedian, politician, media personality, and author who served as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 2009 to 2018. He became well known in the 1970s and 1980s as a performer on the television comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). After decades as a comedic actor and writer, he became a prominent liberal political activist, hosting The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio.

    Members, 114th Congress

    MajorityMinority

    Source: 2013  Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page  S296 to 297

    <i>Congressional Record</i> official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress

    The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Publishing Office and issued when Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks. At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition. Chapter 9 of Title 44 of the United States Code authorizes publication of the Congressional Record.

    Current subcommittees

    SubcommitteeChairRanking member
    Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Mike Lee (R-UT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    The Constitution Ted Cruz (R-TX) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
    Crime and Terrorism Josh Hawley (R-MO) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Border Security and Immigration John Cornyn (R-TX) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
    Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts Ben Sasse (R-NE) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
    Privacy, Technology, and the Law Mike Lee (R-UT) Chris Coons (D-DE)

    Chair since 1816

    ChairPartyStateYears
    Dudley Chase Democratic-Republican Vermont 1816–1817
    John J. Crittenden Democratic-Republican Kentucky 1817–1818
    James Burrill, Jr. Federalist Rhode Island 1818–1820
    William Smith Democratic-Republican South Carolina 1819–1823
    Martin Van Buren Democratic-Republican New York 1823–1828
    John M. Berrien Jacksonian Georgia 1828–1829
    John Rowan Democratic-Republican Kentucky 1829–1831
    William L. Marcy Jacksonian New York 1831–1832
    William Wilkins Jacksonian Pennsylvania 1832–1833
    John M. Clayton Anti-Jacksonian Delaware 1833–1836
    Felix Grundy Jacksonian Tennessee 1836–1838
    Garret D. Wall Democratic New Jersey 1838–1841
    John M. Berrien Whig Georgia 1841–1845
    Chester Ashley Democratic Arkansas 1845–1847
    Andrew P. Butler Democratic South Carolina 1847–1857
    James A. Bayard, Jr. Democratic Delaware 1857–1861
    Lyman Trumbull Republican Illinois 1861–1872
    George G. Wright Republican Iowa 1872
    George F. Edmunds Republican Vermont 1872–1879
    Allen G. Thurman Democratic Ohio 1879–1881
    George F. Edmunds Republican Vermont 1881–1891
    George Frisbie Hoar Republican Massachusetts 1891–1893
    James L. Pugh Democratic Alabama 1893–1895
    George Frisbie Hoar Republican Massachusetts 1895–1904
    Orville H. Platt Republican Connecticut 1904–1905
    Clarence D. Clark Republican Wyoming 1905–1912
    Charles Allen Culberson Democratic Texas 1912–1919
    Knute Nelson Republican Minnesota 1919–1923
    Frank B. Brandegee Republican Connecticut 1923–1924
    Albert B. Cummins Republican Iowa 1924–1926
    George William Norris Republican Nebraska 1926–1933
    Henry F. Ashurst Democratic Arizona 1933–1941
    Frederick Van Nuys Democratic Indiana 1941–1945
    Pat McCarran Democratic Nevada 1945–1947
    Alexander Wiley Republican Wisconsin 1947–1949
    Pat McCarran Democratic Nevada 1949–1953
    William Langer Republican North Dakota 1953–1955
    Harley M. Kilgore Democratic West Virginia 1955–1956
    James Eastland Democratic Mississippi 1956–1978
    Edward M. Kennedy Democratic Massachusetts 1978–1981
    Strom Thurmond Republican South Carolina 1981–1987
    Joe Biden Democratic Delaware 1987–1995
    Orrin Hatch Republican Utah 1995–2001
    Patrick Leahy [6] Democratic Vermont 2001
    Orrin Hatch Republican Utah 2001
    Patrick Leahy [7] Democratic Vermont 2001–2003
    Orrin Hatch Republican Utah 2003–2005
    Arlen Specter Republican Pennsylvania 2005–2007
    Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont 2007–2015
    Chuck Grassley Republican Iowa 2015–2019
    Lindsey Graham Republican South Carolina 2019–present

    See also

    United States House Committee on the Judiciary Standing committee of the United States House of Representatives

    The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, also called the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities. The Judiciary Committee is also the committee responsible for impeachments of federal officials. Because of the legal nature of its oversight, committee members usually have a legal background, but this is not required.

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    References

    1. 1 2 3 "Jurisdiction". United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
    2. "Senate Committee on the Judiciary". GovTrack. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
    3. "Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 13 Judiciary 1947-1968". National Archives. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
    4. "History | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
    5. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members
    6. When the Senate convened in January 2001 17 days before President George W. Bush was inaugurated, there was a 50–50 split between Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Al Gore as a tiebreaking vote.
    7. In June 2001, Republican Jim Jeffords declared himself an Independent and caucused with the Democrats, giving the Democrats majority control.