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United States House Committee on the Judiciary


United States House Committee on the Judiciary

President Gerald Ford appearing at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing regarding his pardon of Richard Nixon (October 17, 1974).

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.

In the 113th Congress, the chairman of the committee is Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, and the ranking minority member is Democrat John Conyers of Michigan. In prior years, Lamar S. Smith of Texas was the chairman, and prior to that John Conyers served as chairman.


  • History 1
    • Predecessor committees 1.1
  • Members 2
    • 113th Congress 2.1
    • 112th Congress 2.2
  • Current subcommittees 3
  • Task forces 4
    • Antitrust Task Force: 108th Congress 4.1
    • Antitrust Task Force: 110th Congress 4.2
    • Judicial Impeachment: 110th and 111th Congresses 4.3
  • Projects 5
  • Hearings 6
  • List of chairmen 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The committee was created on June 6, 1813 for the purpose of considering legislation related to the judicial system. This committee approved articles of impeachment against three Presidents: Andrew Johnson (1868), Richard Nixon (1974), and Bill Clinton (1998).

Predecessor committees


113th Congress

Majority (Republicans) Minority (Democrats)


  • Resolutions electing Republican members: H.Res. 6 (Chairs) and H.Res. 17 (R)[2]
  • Resolutions electing Democratic members: H.Res. 7 (D) and H.Res. 22 (D)

112th Congress

Majority (Republicans) Minority (Democrats)


  • Resolutions electing Republican members: H.Res. 6 (Chair), H.Res. 37 (Members)
  • Resolutions electing Democratic members H.Res. 7 (Ranking member), H.Res. 39 (Members)

Current subcommittees

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
The Constitution and Civil Justice Trent Franks (R-AZ) Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Howard Coble (R-NC) Mel Watt (D-NC)
Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Immigration Policy and Border Security Trey Gowdy (R-SC) Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Spencer Bachus (R-AL) Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Source:a "Chairman Smith Announces Subcommittee Chairmen". January 7, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 

Task forces

Antitrust Task Force: 108th Congress

Chairman: Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI); Ranking member: John Conyers (D-MI)

The Antitrust Task Force during the 108th Congress existed from March 26, 2003, to September 26, 2003. All Judiciary Committee Members also served as members of the Task Force,[3] and conducted hearings and investigations into consolidation of the Bell Telephone Companies.[4]

Antitrust Task Force: 110th Congress

Chairman: John Conyers (D-MI); Ranking member: Steve Chabot (R-OH)

The Antitrust Task Force during the 110th Congress was established February 28, 2007, as a temporary subcommittee to examine the pending merger between XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.[5] The task force operated like any other subcommittee, except that it only has a six-month term. House Rules limit each full committee to just five subcommittees, and any task force, special subcommittee, or other subunit of a standing committee that is established for a cumulative period longer than six months in a Congress counts against that total.[6] A longer term for the task force would cause the Judiciary Committee to exceed this limit.

Judicial Impeachment: 110th and 111th Congresses

Chairman: Adam Schiff (D-CA);[7] Ranking member: Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)[7]

Established in September 2008,[8] the Judicial Task force on Judicial Impeachment was to look into charges against District Judge Thomas Porteous.[8] The investigation was not completed by the end of the 110th Congress, and it was reestablished after the 111th Congress convened in January 2009.[9] The responsibilities of the Task Force were expanded to include the case of Judge Samuel B. Kent,[10] leading to hearings[11] and his subsequent impeachment by the full House of Representatives.[12] The Task force finally voted to impeach Porteous on January 21, 2010.



List of chairmen

Chairman Party State Years
Charles J. Ingersoll Democratic-Republican Pennsylvania 1813 –
Hugh Nelson Democratic-Republican Virginia 1815 –
John Sergeant Democratic-Republican Pennsylvania 1819 –
Hugh Nelson Democratic-Republican Virginia 1822 –
Daniel Webster Federalist Massachusetts 1823 –
Philip P. Barbour Democratic Virginia 1827 –
James Buchanan Democratic Pennsylvania 1829 –
Warren R. Davis Democratic South Carolina 1831 –
Thomas F. Foster Whig Georgia 1833 –
Samuel Beardsley Democratic New York 1835 –
Francis Thomas Democratic Maryland 1836 –
John Sergeant Whig Pennsylvania 1839 –
Daniel D. Barnard Whig New York 1841 –
William Wilkins Democratic Pennsylvania 1843 –
Romulus M. Saunders Democratic North Carolina 1844 –
George O. Rathbun Democratic New York 1845 –
Joseph R. Ingersoll Whig Pennsylvania 1847 –
James Thompson Democratic Pennsylvania 1849 –
James X. McLanahan Democratic Pennsylvania 1851 –
Frederick P. Stanton Democratic Tennessee 1853 –
George A. Simmons Whig & Republican New York 1855 –
George S. Houston Democratic Alabama 1857 –
John Hickman Republican Pennsylvania 1859 –
James F. Wilson Republican Iowa 1863 –
John A. Bingham Republican Ohio 1869 –
Benjamin F. Butler Republican Massachusetts 1873 –
James P. Knott Democratic Kentucky 1875 –
Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1881 –
John R. Tucker Democratic Virginia 1883 –
David B. Culberson Democratic Texas 1887 –
Ezra B. Taylor Republican Ohio 1889 –
David B. Culberson Democratic Texas 1891 –
David B. Henderson Republican Iowa 1895 –
George W. Ray Republican New York 1899 –
John J. Jenkins Republican Wisconsin 1903 –
Richard W. Parker Republican New Jersey 1909 –
Henry De Lamar Clayton Democratic Alabama 1911 –
Edwin Y. Webb Democratic North Carolina 1914 –
Andrew J. Volstead Republican Minnesota 1919 –
George S. Graham Republican Pennsylvania 1923 –
Hatton W. Sumners Democratic Texas 1931 –
Earl C. Michener Republican Michigan 1947 –
Emanuel Celler Democratic New York 1949 –
Chauncey W. Reed Republican Illinois 1953 –
Emanuel Celler Democratic New York 1955 –
Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Democratic New Jersey 1973 –
Jack Brooks Democratic Texas 1989 –
Henry J. Hyde Republican Illinois 1995 –
Jim Sensenbrenner Republican Wisconsin 2001 –
John Conyers Democratic Michigan 2007 –
Lamar S. Smith Republican Texas 2011 –
Bob Goodlatte Republican Virginia 2013 –

See also


  1. ^ Mr. Bachus was not listed as a 112th Committee member because he was on leave during his leadership of the House Financial Services Committee.
  2. ^ Bachus news release Dec. 19
  3. ^ Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust
  4. ^ House Antitrust Task Force, Antitrust
  5. ^ Anti-Trust Panel to Examine XM-Sirius Merger United States House Committee on the Judiciary Press Release, February 27, 2007
  6. ^ Rules of the House of Representatives, Rule X(b)(C), Page 12
  7. ^ a b "House Judiciary Committee Announces Retention of Alan Baron to Lead Inquiry into Possible Impeachment of Judge Porteous" (Press release). U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. October 2, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "House panel moves toward impeaching a judge". Associated Press. September 18, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  9. ^  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ "Victims allege years of sexual misconduct by federal judge". CNN. June 3, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  12. ^ Powell, Stewart (June 19, 2009). "U.S. House impeaches Kent". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 27, 2009. In action so rare it has been carried out only 14 times since 1803, the House on Friday impeached a federal judge — imprisoned U.S. District Court Judge Samuel B. Kent...  (Archived by WebCite at

External links

  • Committee on the Judiciary website
  • Congressional Directory including lists of past memberships
  • House Document No. 109-153, A History of the Committee on the Judiciary 1813–2006
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