By Frederick H. Lowe
Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) and Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) yesterday were selected to join the Senate Judiciary Committee, a very powerful committee that plays a key role in considering U.S. Supreme Court, federal appeals court and district court nominations.
Harris replaces former Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) who resigned from office on January 2 after several allegations of sexual misconduct had been leveled against him. Booker’s appointment was made possible by Democrat Doug Jones’s election to the U.S. Senate following a special election in Alabama. The election gave Democrats another seat in the Senate.
Harris is the second black woman to serve on the Judiciary Committee. Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-Illinois) was the first. Booker is the first black man to serve on the committee.
Booker tweeted from @corybooker : “Excited to join the Judiciary Committee. It’ll be my mission to check awful actions by Trump & Sessions; keep working to advance the cause of reforming our broken justice system; and to bend the arc of history closer toward equal justice for all.”
Harris tweeted from @SenKamalaHarris: “Thrilled to share that I’ve been appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee. You have my commitment that I will fight for justice on behalf of Californians and all Americans.”
Republicans still have a one-seat advantage on the committee of 11 to 10. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is committee chair and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is the ranking Democrat.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies hailed both appointments.
“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 made,” said Spencer Overton, president and CEO of the Joint Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for black-elected officials.
The Judiciary Committee has oversight over the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and components of the Department of Homeland Security.
The committee considers legislation that impacts immigration, criminal justice and intellectual property.