United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Last updated

Senate Judiciary Committee
Standing committee
Active
Seal of the United States Senate.svg
United States Senate
117th Congress
History
FormedDecember 10, 1816
Leadership
Chair Dick Durbin (D)
Since February 3, 2021
Ranking member Chuck Grassley (R)
Since February 3, 2021
Structure
Seats22 members
Political partiesMajority (11)
  •   Democratic (11)
Minority (11)
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 and judicial nominations, as well as review pending legislation. [1] [2]

    Contents

    In addition, 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]

    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]

    Nominations

    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]

    If a majority on the committee votes to advance a nomination, the nominee is reported favorably to the whole Senate, which can vote by simple majority to confirm the nominee. [5]

    Oversight

    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).

    Members, 117th Congress

    Majority [6] Minority
    Dick Durbin, Democratic senator from Illinois, is the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Richard Durbin official photo.jpg
    Dick Durbin, Democratic senator from Illinois, is the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Current subcommittees

    SubcommitteeChairRanking Member
    Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Mike Lee (R-UT)
    The Constitution Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Ted Cruz (R-TX)
    Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism Cory Booker (D-NJ) Tom Cotton (R-AR)
    Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) John Kennedy (R-LA)
    Human Rights and the Law Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Josh Hawley (R-MO)
    Immigration, Citizenship and Border Safety Alex Padilla (D-CA) John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Intellectual Property Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Thom Tillis (R-NC)
    Privacy, Technology and the Law Chris Coons (D-DE) Ben Sasse (R-NE)

    Chairs since 1816

    ChairPartyStateYears
    Dudley Chase Democratic-Republican Vermont 1816–1817
    John J. Crittenden Democratic-Republican Kentucky 1817–1818
    James Burrill Jr. Federalist Rhode Island 1818–1819
    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 [7] Democratic Vermont 2001
    Orrin Hatch Republican Utah 2001
    Patrick Leahy [8] 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 2019–2021
    Dick Durbin Democratic Illinois 2021–present

    Historical committee rosters

    116th Congress

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

    115th Congress

    [10] [11]

    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.

    Subcommittees
    SubcommitteeChairRanking member
    Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Mike Lee (R-UT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Border Security and Immigration John Cornyn (R-TX) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
    Crime and Terrorism Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts Ben Sasse (R-NE) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (from January 9, 2018)
    Chris Coons (D-DE) (until January 9, 2018)
    Privacy, Technology and the Law Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Chris Coons (D-DE) (from January 9, 2018)
    Al Franken (D-MN) (until January 2, 2018)
    The Constitution Ted Cruz (R-TX) Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (from January 9, 2018)
    Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (until January 9, 2018)

    114th Congress

    [12]

    MajorityMinority
    Subcommittees
    SubcommitteeChairmanRanking member
    Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Mike Lee (R-UT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Crime and Terrorism Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Immigration and the National Interest Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
    Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts Ted Cruz (R-TX) Chris Coons (D-DE)
    Privacy, Technology and the Law Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Al Franken (D-MN)
    The Constitution John Cornyn (R-TX) Dick Durbin (D-IL)

    113th Congress

    [13]

    MajorityMinority
    Subcommittees
    SubcommitteeChairmanRanking member
    Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Mike Lee (R-UT)
    Bankruptcy and the Courts Chris Coons (D-DE) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
    Crime and Terrorism Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Chuck Schumer (D-NY) John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
    Privacy, Technology and the Law Al Franken (D-MN) Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
    The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Dick Durbin (D-IL) Ted Cruz (R-TX)

    112th Congress

    [14]

    MajorityMinority
    Subcommittees
    SubcommitteeChairmanRanking member
    Administrative Oversight and the Courts Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
    United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Herb Kohl (D-WI) Mike Lee (R-UT)
    Crime and Terrorism Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
    Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Chuck Schumer (D-NY) John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Privacy, Technology and the Law Al Franken (D-MN) Tom Coburn (R-OK)
    The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Dick Durbin (D-IL) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

    111th Congress

    [15] [16]

    MajorityMinority
    Subcommittees
    SubcommitteeChairmanRanking member
    Administrative Oversight and the Courts Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
    Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Herb Kohl (D-WI) Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
    Crime and Drugs Arlen Specter (D-PA) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    Human Rights and the Law Dick Durbin (D-IL) Tom Coburn (R-OK)
    Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Chuck Schumer (D-NY) John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Terrorism and Homeland Security Ben Cardin (D-MD) Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
    The Constitution Russ Feingold (D-WI) Tom Coburn (R-OK)

    See also

    Related Research Articles

    United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Standing committee of the United States Senate

    The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.

    United States congressional committee Legislative working groups of the United States federal government

    A congressional committee is a legislative sub-organization in the United States Congress that handles a specific duty. Committee membership enables members to develop specialized knowledge of the matters under their jurisdiction. As "little legislatures", the committees monitor ongoing governmental operations, identify issues suitable for legislative review, gather and evaluate information, and recommend courses of action to their parent body. Woodrow Wilson once wrote, "it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work." It is not expected that a member of Congress be an expert on all matters and subject areas that come before Congress. Congressional committees provide valuable informational services to Congress by investigating and reporting about specialized subjects.

    A select or special committee of the United States Congress is a congressional committee appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee. A select committee is usually created by a resolution that outlines its duties and powers and the procedures for appointing members. Select and special committees are often investigative, rather than legislative, in nature though some select and special committees have the authority to draft and report legislation.

    Inslaw, Inc. is a Washington, D.C. based information technology company that markets case management software for corporate and government users.

    United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Standing committee of the United States Senate

    The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is the chief oversight committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over matters related to the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security concerns, as well as the functioning of the government itself, including the National Archives, budget and accounting measures other than appropriations, the Census, the federal civil service, the affairs of the District of Columbia and the United States Postal Service. It was called the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs before homeland security was added to its responsibilities in 2004. It serves as the Senate's chief investigative and oversight committee. Its chair is the only Senate committee chair who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote.

    U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government is one of twelve subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. It was renamed from the Subcommittee on District of Columbia in 2007 in order to align the operations of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations has joint jurisdiction with the United States House Committee on Appropriations over all appropriations bills in the United States Congress. Each committee has 12 matching subcommittees, each of which is tasked with working on one of the twelve annual regular appropriations bills. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the budget for the United States Department of the Treasury and General Government.

    Superior Court of the District of Columbia Trial court for the District of Columbia

    The Superior Court of the District of Columbia, commonly referred to as DC Superior Court, is the trial court for the District of Columbia, in the United States. It hears cases involving criminal and civil law, as well as family court, landlord and tenant, probate, tax and driving violations. All appeals of Superior Court decisions go to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

    Nancy Erickson

    Nancy Erickson is an American political aide who served as the 32nd Secretary of the United States Senate from 2007 to 2015. She began her term as Secretary on January 4, 2007, in the 110th Congress. Erickson was appointed by Democratic and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

    U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies is one of twelve subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. It was formerly known as the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, but responsibility for Treasury and Judiciary funding was transferred to the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government in 2007. The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations has joint jurisdiction with the United States House Committee on Appropriations over all appropriations bills in the United States Congress. Each committee has 12 matching subcommittees, each of which is tasked with working on one of the twelve annual regular appropriations bills. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the budget for the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Tim Griffin 20th lieutenant governor of Arkansas

    John Timothy Griffin is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he previously was the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas between 2006 and 2007 and U.S. Representative for Arkansas's 2nd congressional district from 2011 to 2015. Griffin defeated Democrat John Burkhalter in 2014 and has served under Governor Asa Hutchinson since holding the lieutenant governorship. In summer 2020, Griffin announced his candidacy for the 2022 Arkansas gubernatorial election, but withdrew from the race in February 2021 to run for Arkansas Attorney General instead.

    A detailed chronology of events in the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy.

    The various documents obtained by request or subpoena during dismissal of U.S attorneys controversy by both the United States House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary, originally produced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or White House have been made available to the public and press via the two congressional judiciary committees' web sites. The documents received a great deal of attention in the United States press from March 2007 onward, and have been repeatedly cited or excerpted in news reports, editorials and analyses. The documents largely include copies of memoranda and email among leadership and key individuals within the United States Department of Justice, as well as key members of the Executive Office of the President, commonly termed White House.

    Robert M. Walker

    Robert Michael "Mike" Walker is the former United States Under Secretary of the Army (1997-1998).

    Salvador Mendoza Jr. American judge

    Salvador Mendoza Jr. is a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and former Washington state judge. He is a nominee to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Paul E. Blackwell United States Army general

    Paul Eugene Blackwell Sr. is a retired United States Army lieutenant general. During his 31-year career in the United States Army, LTG Blackwell held a wide variety of command and staff positions including assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (G3), Department of the Army and commanding general, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Other key assignments include Deputy Director of Operations, National Military Command Center, Washington, DC; commanding general, 2d Armored Division (Forward), Garlstedt, Federal Republic of Germany, and Assistant Division Commander, 3d Armored Division, Federal Republic of Germany.

    Rachel Brand American attorney

    Rachel Lee Brand is an American lawyer, academic, and former government official. She served as the United States Associate Attorney General from May 22, 2017, until February 20, 2018, when she resigned to take a job as head of global corporate governance at Walmart. Brand was the first woman to serve as Associate Attorney General. She also served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the George W. Bush administration and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Prior to becoming Associate Attorney General, Brand was an associate professor at Antonin Scalia Law School.

    James Morhard

    James Morhard is a former American government official who served as the Deputy Administrator of NASA under President Donald Trump.

    Carolyn N. Lerner American lawyer

    Carolyn Nancy Lerner is an American lawyer who is a judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims.

    References

    1. 1 2 3 "Jurisdiction". United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
    2. "Senate Committee on the Judiciary". GovTrack. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
    3. "Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 13 Judiciary 1947-1968". National Archives. August 15, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
    4. "History | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
    5. "How Republicans Can Block Stephen Breyer's Replacement". Time. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
    6. "Members | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
    7. 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.
    8. In June 2001, Republican Jim Jeffords declared himself an Independent and caucused with the Democrats, giving the Democrats majority control.
    9. "Members | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
    10. John J. Merlino (June 28, 2018). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Julie E. Adams, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 20–21. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
    11. John J. Merlino (April 4, 2017). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Julie E. Adams, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 20–21. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
    12. John J. Merlino (May 13, 2015). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Julie E. Adams, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 20–21. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
    13. Kathleen Alvarez Tritak (April 10, 2014). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 20–21. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
    14. Kathleen Alvarez Tritak (April 8, 2011). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Twelfth Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 20–21. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
    15. Kathleen Alvarez Tritak (2010). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Eleventh Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 22–23. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
    16. Kathleen Alvarez Tritak (October 1, 2010). "Judiciary". The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Eleventh Congress (PDF) (Report). Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office. pp. 22–23. Retrieved February 13, 2021.