Are you a U.S. senator or senator-elect who would enjoy grilling nominees for the federal judiciary and the U.S. Justice Department? There's an opportunity waiting for you.
Tuesday's election results, as well as retirements and other circumstances, mean there are likely to be a few openings soon on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee weighs in on nominations and on a diverse array of legislative topics, including national security, immigration and antitrust law.
Of the 12 Democratic senators now on the committee, three will not be back: Russ Feingold (Wis.), who lost on Tuesday; Ted Kaufman (Del.), who was filling a vacancy; and Arlen Specter (Pa.), who lost his party primary. Of the seven Republican members, all are expected to be back.
It might be weeks before Senate leaders determine the new partisan ratio on the committee and how many members it will have. One possible scenario: it stays at 19 members, divided between 10 Democrats and nine Republicans, leaving room for one new Democrat and two new Republicans.
Feingold has been chairman of the Constitution subcommittee, while Specter has led the subcommittee on crime and drugs. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is likely to be chairman of the full committee again, while Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is in line to succeed Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the committee’s top Republican. Leahy and Grassley were reelected on Tuesday.