The dynamic duo, Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (D-California) join one of the most influential committees in the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee welcomes the second African American woman and the first African American man. Not surprisingly, the two are off to a powerful start. What makes Senators Booker and Harris extraordinary is their tenacity and determination to apply fairness to any issues before them.
Who’s Your Lawyer Part One: Senator Kamala Harris
Californians elected Kamala Harris as the first African-American and first woman to serve as State Attorney General. She graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and obtained a law degree from the University of California. In 2017, she was sworn in as a United States Senator for California. In addition to being a member of the Judiciary Committee, she also serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on the Budget. She has her hands full!
Below is a video of Kamala Harris and Kirstjen Nielson: Watch her go after her.
Who’s Your Lawyer Part 2: Senator Corey Booker
Cory Booker is the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He attended Stanford University, where he went on to study at the University of Oxford, earning an honors degree in History. Booker received his J.D. at Yale Law School. His “dramatical” appearance on the Senate floor stands out.
Senator Booker serves on the following committees: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. That’s a lot of work!
Below watch this fiery video of Booker and Kirstjen Nielson, Homeland Security Secretary.
Although they are new members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, they won’t hold back. During a Senate oversight hearing, both Harris and Booker grilled Nielsen.
Understanding the Senate Judiciary Committee
There are two Judiciary committees; the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. The committee chairman is Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and the ranking Democrat is Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California).
The Senate Judiciary Committee considers legislative decisions related to the federal judiciary and the administration of justice in the United States. As such, the Committee provides oversight into matters pertaining to the United States Sentencing Commission, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Committee also considers legislation that impacts laws on immigration, criminal justice, and intellectual property. Recently, the committee introduced legislation S. 2293, a bill to amend section 214(c)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees, and for other purposes. For more information on legislation in this committee, visit their website at www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation.
Additionally, they are responsible for executive nominations. The committee votes on nominations for positions in the Department of Justice, Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Parole Commission. Finally, the Judiciary Committee is responsible for judicial nominations including the Supreme Court, appellate court nominations, and district court nominations.
Presently, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is under fire. Right before the shutdown of the government, he scheduled the vote of 17 judicial nominees.
House Judiciary Committee
On the contrary, the House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over matters related to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies. This is the forum where impeachment proceedings take place.
Notably, people refer to this committee as the “lawyer for the House of Representatives.” Logically, this is due to the fact of its jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice. As such, many members of this committee have a background in law.
The Chairman of this committee is Bob Goodlatte. He represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia in the House of Representatives. Widely known members include Sheila Jackson Lee, Cedric Richmond and Hakeem Jeffries.
Furthermore, if you are a criminal reforms advocate, these are the two committees to watch closely. Currently, advocates are waiting to see if the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a Bipartisan Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Package. More than likely, if the Senate committees pass the legislation the House will follow.
In conclusion, the GCE staff congratulates both Senator Booker and Senator Kamala Harris on their appointment to the Senate Judiciary Committee.