Updated 3:43 p.m.
Congress returns to work today after a five-week summer break, starting a short September session with hearings and votes on high-profile Department of Justice-related issues and a district judge confirmation vote today.
The House scheduled a vote Thursday on a bill that would reauthorize provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has identified as the DOJ's top legislative priority.
The FISA bill allows the government to intercept e-mails and phone calls without a warrant. Democrats complained at a hearing on the bill in May that no details of the program's activities are issued to the public and little gets to Congress, and privacy advocates say the public deserves more oversight on how it is used.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a potentially controversial hearing next week on a new internal DOJ report on the Operation Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal. The hearing will feature testimony from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who wrote the report.
The same oversight committee filed a civil complaint last month against Holder just over a month after the House of Representatives voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents about the gun-trafficking sting.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the "Citizens United Court and the Continuing Importance of the Voting Rights Act" that will feature testimony from Jones Day partner Michael Carvin, one of the lawyers who argued before the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of George W. Bush in the 2000 election Florida recount controversy.
The hearing will also include testimony from Anthony Johnstone, a University of Montana School of Law assistant professor who was Montana Solicitor when he drafted an amicus brief for 26 states in the campaign finance challenge of Citizens United v. FEC.
The Senate starts its week with a confirmation vote at 5:30 p.m. today for Stephanie Rose to be a U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Iowa.
Solutions for budget issues are expected to dominate most of the work on Capitol Hill this month, since no budget has been passed and funding could cause a government shutdown when the budget year ends Sept. 30.