This afternoon the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will replace former Senator Franken as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senators Harris and Booker will be the second and third African American Senators to join the committee, following former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, according to the Senate Historical Office.
According to demographic data released by the Senate Democratic Caucus in 2017, there were no African American staffers on the committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee has an oversight role over the of the Department of Justice and the agencies under the Department’s jurisdiction, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as components of the Department of Homeland Security. The committee considers legislation that touches on a variety of issues, from immigration to criminal justice, to intellectual property.
In addition, the committee considers executive nominations for positions in the Department of Justice, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and all Article III judicial nominations. Senate Judiciary Committee members play a key role in considering Supreme Court nominations, appellate court nominations, and district court nominations.
The following is a statement by Spencer Overton, President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies:
“The appointment of Senators Harris and Booker to the Senate Judiciary Committee is another important step in the movement to create a more representative Senate and will have a meaningful impact on how policy is considered. Senators Harris and Booker are thoughtful and passionate advocates for all Americans and will provide critical perspectives on this influential committee.”
Click here for a link to the full Joint Center fact sheet on diversity among top U.S. Senate staff.
Don Bell, “A call for diversity on Capitol Hill”, The Hill, Sep. 26, 2017.
David Weigel, “Democrats add Harris, Booker to Senate Judiciary Committee”, The Washington Post, Jan. 9, 2018.
Brett Samuels, “Booker, Harris appointed to Senate Judiciary Committee”, The Hill, Jan. 9, 2018.
Kelly Cohen, “Cory Booker, Kamala Harris join Senate Judiciary Committee”, Washington Examiner, Jan. 9, 2018.
Claire Zillman, “Kamala Harris and Cory Booker Become First Black Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this Century”, Fortune, Jan. 9, 2018.
Monique Judge, “Kamala Harris, Cory Booker Appointed to Senate Judiciary Committee”, The Root, Jan. 9, 2018.
Emily Cadei, “California now has a one-two punch on the Russia inquiry”, The Sacramento Bee, Jan. 9, 2018.
Madhuri Sathish, ” How Kamala Harris & Cory Booker’s Senate Judiciary Seats Made History”, Bustle, Jan. 9, 2018.
Kevin Freking, ” Democrats Kamala Harris, Corey Booker join Senate Judiciary Committee”, The Press Democrat, Jan. 10, 2018.
Dominque Mosbergen, ” Senate Judiciary Committee Has 2 Black Members For The First Time In Its History”, The Huffington Post, Jan. 10, 2018.
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The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization that supports elected officials and policy experts who serve communities of color across the United States.