Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate
- 1 Jurisdiction
- 2 Members
- 3 Nomination hearings
- 4 Subcommittees
- 5 History
- 6 Supreme Court voting record
- 7 Rules of Procedure
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate, commonly known as the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States Senate and is considered to be one of the most influential committees in Congress. Created in 1816, it considers matters related to the federal judiciary in the United States and oversees the Department of Justice. The committee has the responsibility to confirm or deny presidential nominations to the federal justice system. It also reviews legislation in a number of different areas.
The committee is granted power by the United States Constitution to hold nomination hearings for all nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts and U.S. Court of International Trade. The committee is also given the same power for other executive positions in the Department of Justice, such as the Attorney General of the United States and United States Attorneys across the nation. The committee has additional power to consider certain nominations outside of the Department of Justice, including nominations to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce. Under the provisions of the Constitution, the Senate is given the right to advise and consent on all presidential nominations.
There are 18 members of the Judiciary Committee. For a list of current members, see Ballotpedia's United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary page.
Like all Senate committees, the chairperson of the Judiciary Committee is a member of the party with majority control of the Senate.
When a person is nominated by the President, consideration for the given nominee must be referred to the appropriate committee. Most presidential nominees, including judicial nominations, are required to complete a committee questionnaire. In the questionnaire, nominees are asked to list previous professional experiences, educational information, potential conflicts of interest and personal finance information. Judicial nominees are also required to complete an additional evaluation from the American Bar Association, which is required before the committee can schedule a hearing. During the hearing, all nominees present information under oath. During the questioning, all senators on the committee may question the nominee on any appropriate subject. After the hearing, nominations are listed for committee consideration during executive business meetings, where the committee has the authority to advance the nominee to a full Senate vote. At any time after the hearing, committee members can send correspondence to any nominee for additional questioning.
Judiciary Committee hearings are open to the public and occur in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Additionally, committee hearings are webcast online and can be watched here.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is subdivided into seven subcommittees, each involving a general area of law.
Bankruptcy and the Courts
- 1. Federal court jurisdiction, administration and management;
- 2. Rules of evidence and procedure;
- 3. Creation of new courts and judgeships;
- 4. Bankruptcy;
- 5. Legal reform and liability issues;
- 6. Local courts in territories and possessions.
Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
- 1. Oversight of antitrust law and competition policy, including the Sherman, Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts;
- 2. Oversight of antitrust enforcement and competition policy at the Justice Department;
- 3. Oversight of antitrust enforcement and competition policy at the Federal Trade Commission;
- 4. Oversight of competition policy at other federal agencies.
The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
- 1. Constitutional amendments;
- 2. Enforcement and protection of constitutional rights;
- 3. Statutory guarantees of civil rights and civil liberties;
- 4. Separation of powers;
- 5. Federal-State relations;
- 6. Interstate compacts;
- 7. Human rights laws and practices;
- 8. Enforcement and implementation of human rights laws.
Crime and Terrorism
- 1. Oversight of the Department of Justice's (a) Criminal Division, (b) Drug Enforcement Administration, (c) Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, (d) Office on Violence Against Women, (e) U.S. Marshals Service, (f) Community Oriented Policing Services and related law enforcement grants, (g) Bureau of Prisons, (h) Office of the Pardon Attorney, (i) U.S. Parole Commission, (j) Federal Bureau of Investigation, and (k) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as it relates to crime or drug policy;
- 2. Oversight of the U.S. Sentencing Commission;
- 3. Youth violence and directly related issues;
- 4. Federal programs under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (including the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act);
- 5. Criminal justice and victims' rights policy;
- 6. Oversight of the Office of National Drug Control Policy;
- 7. Oversight of the U.S. Secret Service;
- 8. Corrections, rehabilitation, reentry and other detention-related policy; and (9) Parole and probation policy; (10) Oversight of anti-terrorism enforcement and policy; (11) Oversight of Department of Homeland Security functions as they relate to anti-terrorism enforcement and policy; (12) Oversight of State Department consular operations as they relate to anti-terrorism enforcement and policy; (13) Oversight of encryption policies and export licensing; and (14) Oversight of espionage laws and their enforcement.
Immigration, Refugees and Border Security
- 1. Immigration, citizenship, and refugee laws;
- 2. Oversight of the immigration functions of the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Ombudsman Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- 3. Oversight of the immigration-related functions of the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the Department of Labor;
- 4. Oversight of international migration, internally displaced persons, and refugee laws and policy; and
- 5. Private immigration relief bills.
Privacy, Technology and the Law
- 1. Oversight of laws and policies governing the collection, protection, use and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector, including online behavioral advertising, privacy within social networking websites and other online privacy issues;
- 2. Enforcement and implementation of commercial information privacy laws and policies;
- 3. Use of technology by the private sector to protect privacy, enhance transparency and encourage innovation;
- 4. Privacy standards for the collection, retention, use and dissemination of personally identifiable commercial information; and
- 5. Privacy implications of new or emerging technologies.
Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action
- 1. Administrative practices and procedures including agency rulemaking and adjudication;
- 2. Judicial review of agency action;
- 3. Third party enforcement of federal rights;
- 4. Oversight of the Department of Justice grant programs, as well as government waste and abuse;
- 5. private relief bills other than immigration; and
- 6. Oversight of the Foreign Claims Settlement Act.
The U.S. Senate established the body's original standing committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a resolution adopted on December 10, 1816. The Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives had been established three years prior. The first chairman of the committee was Senator Dudley Chase of Vermont, who was appointed and served during the second session of the 14th Congress.
The committee has been responsible for initial considerations of federal judicial nominations since 1868. Additionally, in the 19th century, the committee considered many petitions regarding the creation of additional judgeships, new district courts, changes in court locations and increases in judicial salaries. In the 20th century, it played a large role in creating legislation to establish independent administrative agencies for the judicial system.
Supreme Court voting record
A record of the Judiciary Committee's votes regarding the confirmations of recent justices of the Supreme Court of the United States can be found here: Judiciary Committee Votes On Recent Supreme Court Nominees.
Rules of Procedure
Rules of Procedure for the Judiciary Committee, as listed on the committee's website:
- Official website of the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Judicial Nominations"
- United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "History," accessed August 29, 2014
- United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Jurisdiction," accessed August 29, 2014
- Senate Judiciary Committee, "Nominations," accessed April 16, 2014
- Center for American Progress, "Legal Progress Toolkit: Federal Judicial Nominations: 9 Steps from Vacancy to Confirmation," January 29, 2013
- People for the American Way Foundation, "The Judicial Confirmation Process: A Step-by-Step Guide," accessed August 29, 2014
- United States Committee on the Judiciary, "Rules," accessed August 29, 2014
- United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Subcommittees," accessed August 29, 2014
- United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Chairman," accessed August 29, 2014
- Federal Judicial Center, "Judicial Administration and Organization," accessed August 29, 2014