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Lamar S. Smith

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Title: Lamar S. Smith  
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Subject: Texas's 21st congressional district, Stop Online Piracy Act, United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Bob Goodlatte, United States House Committee on the Judiciary
Collection: 1947 Births, American Christian Scientists, Climate Change Deniers (Politicians), County Commissioners in Texas, Living People, Members of the Texas House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Texas, People from San Antonio, Texas, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Southern Methodist University Alumni, Tea Party Movement Activists, Texas Republicans, Yale University Alumni
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Lamar S. Smith

Lamar Smith
Chairman of the House Science Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ralph Hall
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by John Conyers
Succeeded by Bob Goodlatte
Chairman of the House Ethics Committee
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by James V. Hansen
Succeeded by Joel Hefley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 21st district
Assumed office
January 3, 1987
Preceded by Tom Loeffler
Bexar County Commissioner
from the 3rd district
In office
January 1983 – January 1985
Preceded by Jeff Wentworth
Succeeded by Walter Bielstein
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 57th district
In office
December 15, 1981 – November 15, 1982
Preceded by James Nowlin
Succeeded by Chock Word
Personal details
Born Lamar Seeligson Smith
(1947-11-19) November 19, 1947
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer
Alma mater Yale University
Southern Methodist University
Religion Christian Science

Lamar Seeligson Smith (born November 19, 1947) is the U.S. Representative (Republican) for Texas's 21st congressional district, serving since 1987. The district includes most of the wealthier sections of San Antonio and Austin, as well as some of the Texas Hill Country. He sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act (PCIP). He also co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.[1]


  • Early life, education, and legal career 1
  • State politics 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Tenure 3.2
    • Committee assignments 3.3
  • Personal life 4
  • Electoral history 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and legal career

Smith graduated from T.M.I.: The Episcopal School of Texas (1965), Yale University (1969), and Southern Methodist University Law School (1975).[2]

In 1969, he was hired as a management intern by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.[2] He was a business and financial writer for the Christian Science Monitor (1970–72).[2] He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1975 and went into private practice in San Antonio with the firm of Maebius and Duncan, Inc.[2]

State politics

In 1978, he was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Bexar County. In 1980, Smith was elected to the Texas House of Representatives representing Bexar County, the 57th District. He served on the Energy Resources Committee and the Fire Ants Select Committee.[3] In 1982, he was elected to the 3rd Precinct of the Bexar County Commission.

U.S. House of Representatives

Earlier portrait of Congressman Lamar S. Smith



In 1986, four-term incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Loeffler of Texas' 21st congressional district decided to retire to run for governor of Texas. Smith led a crowded six-way primary with 31% of the vote[4] and then defeated Van Archer in the run-off election 54%–46%.[5] He won the general election with 61% of the vote.[6]


During this time period, he never won re-election with less than 72% of the vote.


Smith's district was significantly altered in the 2003 Texas redistricting. While he lost most of the Hill Country to the 23rd District, he picked up a significant portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas, a traditional bastion of liberalism. Smith won re-election with 62% of the vote, Smith's lowest winning percentage since his initial run in 1986.[7]


In 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States threw out the 23rd District in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry on the grounds that it violated the rights of Latino voters. The 23rd is the largest district in the nation (not counting the at-large districts), stretching across 800 road miles from El Paso to San Antonio. Due to its size, nearly every district in the El Paso-San Antonio corridor had to be redrawn. Smith regained most of the Hill Country, but kept a large portion of his share of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas.

In November 2006 the Texas Legislative Council [8] found that nearly two-thirds of voters in District 21 cast ballots for statewide Republican candidates in 2004. In the November 2006 open election, Smith faced six candidates. He defeated Democrats John Courage and Gene Kelly 60%–24%–9%.[9][10] This was Smith's lowest winning percentage of his career.


He only faced one candidate, Libertarian nominee James Arthur Strohm, and defeated him with 80% of the vote.[11]


He faced two candidates, Democratic nominee Lainey Melnick and Libertarian nominee James Arthur Strohm, and won with 69% of the vote.[12]


Smith faced five challengers in the 2012 general election on November 6, 2012: Candace Duval (Dem), John-Henry Liberty (Lib), Fidel Castillo (Grn), Bill Stout (Grn), and Carlos Pena (Ind).[13] He won the race with 63% of the vote.[14]


Smith won re-nomination to fifteenth House term in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014. He received 40,262 votes (60.4 percent). His runner-up was Matt McCall, with 22,596 votes (33.9 percent). Michael J. Smith polled the remaining 3,772 votes (5.7 percent).[15]



Smith has consistently supported restrictions on abortion. In 2009, Smith voted to prohibit federally funded abortions.[16] In 2006, Smith voted for the Abortion Pain Bill, which would “ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child”,[17] and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would “prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions”.[18] In 2008, the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion-rights advocacy group,[19] gave Representative Smith a rating of 100 on a point system in which points were assigned for actions in support of legislation they described as pro-life.[20]

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

On April 23, 2006 CNET reported that Smith was introducing a bill that "would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers".[21] The move sparked a negative response among technology enthusiasts in opposition to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011

On June 23, 2011, H.R. 2306 was introduced to Congress by Barney Frank and co-signer Ron Paul.[22] The intent of the bill was to end the Federal prohibition on cannabis, turning over the regulation of marijuana to states (similar to alcohol). The bill was the first of its kind since prohibition began. H.R. 2306 would limit federal powers to interstate transfer; while laws for cultivation, sales, use, and taxation would be determined by each state. This bill was well received by the public, especially medical marijuana patients and activists.

Lamar Smith informed reporters that he had no intention of considering the bill or providing it with a hearing. With Smith's position as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, he has great influence on what bills will be considered.

Smith stated that "Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S., The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease".[23] According to the National Cancer Institute, "Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and the clinic for relief of pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite", though "there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest Cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy".[24] Smith also stated that "Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent".[23]

On June 24, 2011, Lamar Smith's NORML) encouraged MMJ patients and activists to contact Smith via his phone, which was soon turned to an automatic answering machine, stating the office was closed.[25]


In 2011 Smith had received $37,250 in campaign contributions from the Beer, Wine and Liquor Lobby,[26] and $65,800 total between 2009 and 2011. He received more than $133,000 from the Content Industry, including Industry groups and individual companies through mid-2011. Another $60,000 was donated by these companies in the 2012 Election Cycle.[27] listed the Beer, Wine, and Liquor Lobby as third among Smith's top ten campaign contributors, and Content Industry as #1.[28]

Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

In 2011 Smith co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, a bill that made significant changes to the U.S. patent system.[1] The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011.[29] The law will switch U.S. rights to a patent from the present first-to-invent system to a first inventor-to-file system for patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013.[30][31]

Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act

On November 20, 2013, Smith introduced the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act (H.R. 3547; 113th Congress), a bill that would extend until December 31, 2014, the current limitation on liability of commercial space launch companies.[32] Under the current system, the space launch company is liable for any damages up to $500 million, after which the U.S. Government will pay the damages in the range of $500 million to $2.7 billion. Above $2.7 billion, the company is again responsible.[33]

STEM Education Act of 2014

On July 8, 2014, Smith introduced the STEM Education Act of 2014 (H.R. 5031; 113th Congress), a bill that would add computer science to the definition of STEM fields used by the United States federal government in determining grants and education funding.[34][35] Smith said that "we have to capture and hold the desire of our nation's youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. A health and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects including computer science, is critical to American industries. We must work to ensure that students continue to go into these fields so that their ideas can lead to a more innovative and prosperous America."[36]

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

On October 26, 2011, Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261), also known as SOPA.[37] The bill sought to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. SOPA faced significant opposition from internet freedom advocacy groups and web companies, and on January 15, 2012, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor cancelled a planned vote on the bill.[38][39][40]

Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers (PCIP) Act

On May 25, 2011, Smith introduced the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, which sought to change sentencing rules and mandated that ISPs keep logs of customer data (such as name, IP addresses, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers) for at least a year.[41] Representative Zoe Lofgren, (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) criticized PCIP. Lofgren said a better name would be "Keep Every Americans' Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act". Conyers said the bill would allow use of the information for purposes entirely unrelated to fighting child pornography.[41][42]


Smith is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[43]

Climate change

Smith is skeptical of global warming.[44][45][46] Under his leadership, the House Science committee has held hearings that feature the views of skeptics,[47] subpoenaed the records and communications of scientists who published papers that Smith disapproved of,[44] and attempted to cut NASA's earth sciences budget.[48]

Committee assignments

Smith currently serves as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology for the 113th Congress, having replaced Ralph Hall.[49] Smith has previously served on the Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary (Chairman), the Republican Study Committee, and the Tea Party Caucus.

On January 30, 2015, Law360 reported that Smith has sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and to the chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, asking for an explanation of media claims of sharing private data supplied by subscribers with third-parties such as Google, Twitter, and YouTube.[50]

Personal life

Smith is a Christian Scientist. In 1992, he married Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer,[51] a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, as was his first wife, Jane Shoultz, before her death in 1991.[52] They have two children, Nell Seeligson (born 1976) and Tobin Wells (born 1979), from his previous marriage.

Electoral history

Texas's 21st congressional district: Results 1986–2012[53][54][55]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1986 Lamar Smith 100,346 61% Pete Snelson 63,779 39% James Robinson Libertarian 1,432 1%
1988 Lamar Smith 203,989 93% No candidate James Robinson Libertarian 14,801 7%
1990 Lamar Smith 144,570 75% Kirby Roberts 48,585 25%
1992 Lamar Smith 190,979 72% James Gaddy 62,827 24% William Grisham Libertarian 10,847 4%
1994 Lamar Smith 165,595 90% No candidate Kerry Lowry Independent 18,480 10%
1996 Lamar Smith 205,830 76% Gordon Wharton 60,338 22% Randy Rutenbeck Natural Law 3,139 1%
1998 Lamar Smith 165,047 91% No candidate Jeffrey Blunt Libertarian 15,561 9%
2000 Lamar Smith 251,049 76% Jim Green 73,326 22% C.W. Steinbrecher Libertarian 6,503 2%
2002 Lamar Smith 161,836 73% John Courage 56,206 25% D.G. Roberts Libertarian 4,051 2%
2004 Lamar Smith 209,774 61% Rhett Smith 121,129 36% Jason Pratt Libertarian 10,216 3%
2006 Lamar Smith 122,486 60% John Courage 49,957 25% Gene Kelly Democratic 18,355 9% [56]
2008 Lamar Smith 243,471 80% No candidate James Strohm Libertarian 60,879 20%
2010 Lamar Smith 162,924 69% Lainey Melnick 65,927 28% James Strohm Libertarian 7,694 3%
2012 Lamar Smith 187,015 61% Candace Duval 109,326 35% John-Henry Liberty Libertarian 12,524 4%

See also


  1. ^ a b Jackson, Leahy, Smith and Ryan named policymakers of the year, Politico, Published 2011-11-29, Accessed 2012-02-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Representative Lamar S. Smith. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  3. ^ Legislative Reference Library | Legislators and Leaders | Member profile. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  4. ^ TX District 21 – R Primary Race – May 03, 1986. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  5. ^ TX District 21 – R Runoff Race – Jun 07, 1986. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  6. ^ TX District 21 Race – Nov 04, 1986. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  7. ^ TX – District 21 Race – Nov 02, 2004. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  8. ^ Gary Martin, "Courage, other veterans speak out against Bush", San Antonio Express-News, February 8, 2006.
  9. ^ Greg Jefferson, "Remap is looking good for incumbent Smith", San Antonio Express-News, September 3, 2006.
  10. ^ TX – District 21 Race – Nov 07, 2006. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  11. ^ TX – District 21 Race – Nov 04, 2008. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  12. ^ TX – District 21 Race – Nov 02, 2010. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  13. ^ "Texas' 21st Congressional District elections, 2012". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  14. ^ "Joaquin Castro, Lamar Smith, Lloyd Doggett win U.S. Rep races". Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  15. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on H Amdt 509 – Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  17. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on HR 6099 – Abortion Pain Bill". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  18. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on S 403 – Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  19. ^ "National Right to Life".  
  20. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Lamar S. Smith – Interest Group Ratings". 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  21. ^ Declan McCullagh , "Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill", CNET, April 24, 2006.
  22. ^ H.R. 2306: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  23. ^ a b "Marijuana bill officially introduced to Congress by Ron Paul, Barney Frank", Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2011, Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
  24. ^ New NCI Resource About Cannabis (Marijuana)", National Cancer Institute, Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  25. ^ a b "Reefer Madness: Alive And Well In The Federal Government!", NORML blog, (2011-06-24). Retrieved on 2012-1-26.
  26. ^ Lamar Smith: Campaign Finance/Money – Summary – Representative 2012. OpenSecrets. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  27. ^ [2], Retrieved on 2012-22-02.
  28. ^ Lamar Smith (R-TX) U.S. House | – Money and Politics. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  29. ^ "President Obama Signs America Invents Act, Overhauling the Patent System to Stimulate Economic Growth, and Announces New Steps to Help Entrepreneurs Create Jobs | The White House". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  30. ^ Zwahlen, Cyndia (July 11, 2011). "Patent measure causing concern among independent inventors". Los Angeles Times. 
  31. ^ "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act Implementation". Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  32. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (2 December 2013). "Monday: Guns and fire hydrants in the House". The Hill. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  33. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (2 December 2013). "Both parties reject EPA fire hydrant guidance". The Hill. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  34. ^ Callahan, Molly (15 July 2014). "House passes Rep. Esty's STEM Education Act". My Record Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  35. ^ "H.R. 5031 – Text". United States Congress. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  36. ^ "House Approves Four Committee Bills". House Committee on Science. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 112th Congress (2011–2012) – H.R.3261 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  38. ^ Lee, Timothy (2012-01-14). "Under voter pressure, members of Congress backpedal (hard) on SOPA".  
  39. ^ Smith, Erica (2012-01-16). "Internet giants to protest controversial legislation with blackouts". (St. Louis Today). Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  40. ^ Kang, Cecilia (October 26, 2011). "House introduces Internet piracy bill". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  41. ^ a b McCullagh, Declan (July 28, 2011). "House panel approves broadened ISP snooping bill". CNET. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  42. ^ Gross, Grant (July 28, 2011). "House Panel Votes to Require ISPs to Keep Customer Records". PC World. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  43. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  44. ^ a b Warrick, Joby (23 October 2015). "Congressional skeptic on global warming demands records from U.S. climate scientists". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  45. ^ Smith, Lamar (8 September 2015). "Climate change: Seven indisputable facts". The Hill. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  46. ^ Billups, Andrea (24 April 2015). "'"Rep. Lamar Smith: Global Warming Has Become a 'Religion. Newsmax. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  47. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (11 January 2013). "House Science Chairman Lamar Smith puts climate change assessment on agenda". Trail Blazer's Blog. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  48. ^ Hiltzik, Michael (1 May 2015). "The GOP attack on climate change science takes a big step forward". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  49. ^ Terkel, Amanda (November 27, 2012). "Global Warming Skeptic Set To Chair House Science Committee". Huffington Post. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ "Lamar Smith – Candidate for U.S. President, Republican Nomination – Election 2012". Election 2012. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  52. ^ Roper, Peter (January 6, 1991). "Family's privacy protected: Smith silent on wife's death". Del Rio News Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  53. ^ "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 
  54. ^ "Election Results".  
  55. ^ "1992 – Current ELECTION HISTORY".  
  56. ^ In 2006, four other candidates received another 6% of the vote.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Loeffler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 21st congressional district

Preceded by
James V. Hansen
Chairman of the House Ethics Committee
Succeeded by
Joel Hefley
Preceded by
John Conyers
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Bob Goodlatte
Preceded by
Ralph Hall
Chairman of the House Science Committee
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Louise Slaughter
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Fred Upton
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