United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

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]

Senate Judiciary Committee
Standing committee

United States Senate
116th Congress
FormedDecember 10, 1816
ChairLindsey Graham (R)
Since January 3, 2019
Ranking memberDianne Feinstein (D)
Since January 3, 2017
Seats22 members
Political partiesMajority (12)
Minority (10)
Policy areasFederal judiciary, civil procedure, criminal procedure, civil liberties, copyrights, patents, trademarks, naturalization, constitutional amendments, congressional apportionment, state and territorial boundary lines
Oversight authorityDepartment of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, federal judicial nominations
House counterpartHouse Committee on the Judiciary
Meeting place
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

    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]


    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

    Majority Minority

    Historical membership

    Members, 115th Congress

    Majority Minority

    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.

    Members, 114th Congress

    Majority Minority

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

    Current subcommittees

    Subcommittee Chair Ranking 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)
    Intellectual Property Thom Tillis (R-NC) Chris Coons (D-DE)

    Chairs since 1816

    Dudley ChaseDemocratic-RepublicanVermont1816–1817
    John J. CrittendenDemocratic-RepublicanKentucky1817–1818
    James Burrill, Jr.FederalistRhode Island1818–1820
    William SmithDemocratic-RepublicanSouth Carolina1819–1823
    Martin Van BurenDemocratic-RepublicanNew York1823–1828
    John M. BerrienJacksonianGeorgia1828–1829
    John RowanDemocratic-RepublicanKentucky1829–1831
    William L. MarcyJacksonianNew York1831–1832
    William WilkinsJacksonianPennsylvania1832–1833
    John M. ClaytonAnti-JacksonianDelaware1833–1836
    Felix GrundyJacksonianTennessee1836–1838
    Garret D. WallDemocraticNew Jersey1838–1841
    John M. BerrienWhigGeorgia1841–1845
    Chester AshleyDemocraticArkansas1845–1847
    Andrew P. ButlerDemocraticSouth Carolina1847–1857
    James A. Bayard, Jr.DemocraticDelaware1857–1861
    Lyman TrumbullRepublicanIllinois1861–1872
    George G. WrightRepublicanIowa1872
    George F. EdmundsRepublicanVermont1872–1879
    Allen G. ThurmanDemocraticOhio1879–1881
    George F. EdmundsRepublicanVermont1881–1891
    George Frisbie HoarRepublicanMassachusetts1891–1893
    James L. PughDemocraticAlabama1893–1895
    George Frisbie HoarRepublicanMassachusetts1895–1904
    Orville H. PlattRepublicanConnecticut1904–1905
    Clarence D. ClarkRepublicanWyoming1905–1912
    Charles Allen CulbersonDemocraticTexas1912–1919
    Knute NelsonRepublicanMinnesota1919–1923
    Frank B. BrandegeeRepublicanConnecticut1923–1924
    Albert B. CumminsRepublicanIowa1924–1926
    George William NorrisRepublicanNebraska1926–1933
    Henry F. AshurstDemocraticArizona1933–1941
    Frederick Van NuysDemocraticIndiana1941–1945
    Pat McCarranDemocraticNevada1945–1947
    Alexander WileyRepublicanWisconsin1947–1949
    Pat McCarranDemocraticNevada1949–1953
    William LangerRepublicanNorth Dakota1953–1955
    Harley M. KilgoreDemocraticWest Virginia1955–1956
    James EastlandDemocraticMississippi1956–1978
    Edward M. KennedyDemocraticMassachusetts1978–1981
    Strom ThurmondRepublicanSouth Carolina1981–1987
    Joe BidenDemocraticDelaware1987–1995
    Orrin HatchRepublicanUtah1995–2001
    Patrick Leahy[6]DemocraticVermont2001
    Orrin HatchRepublicanUtah2001
    Patrick Leahy[7]DemocraticVermont2001–2003
    Orrin HatchRepublicanUtah2003–2005
    Arlen SpecterRepublicanPennsylvania2005–2007
    Patrick LeahyDemocraticVermont2007–2015
    Chuck GrassleyRepublicanIowa2015–2019
    Lindsey GrahamRepublicanSouth Carolina2019–present

    See also


    1. "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. "Members | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
    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.
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