Chair: Jerrold Nadler
Grade for the 117th Congress
1 Investigative Oversight Hearings
11 Policy/Legislative Hearings
76 Total HearingsLast updated: April 4, 2023, 5:38 a.m.
Like its Senate counterpart, the House Judiciary Committee has a profile more prominent than its relatively modest authorization budget because it deals with many hot-button issues—immigration and border security, anti-trust, gun rights, religious rights, abortion—as well as oversight of the federal judiciary and the federal criminal justice system, including the FBI and the DEA. It doesn’t hold hearings on judicial nominees like its Senate counterpart, but it recently gained prominence as the committee that drafted the two articles of impeachment against President Trump in 2019. (Most of the seven House impeachment managers came from this committee.) Similar to the Senate, the committee tends to attract fierce partisans from the left and the right who often use the committee as a platform. The committee has five subcommittees: antitrust, commercial and administrative law; constitution, civil rights and civil liberties; courts, intellectual property and the Internet; crime, terrorism and homeland security; and immigration and citizenship.
In recent years, under the leadership of Chair Bob Goodlatte (R, Va.), overall committee hearing activity decreased markedly, but there was a sizeable uptick in investigative oversight hearings. In the 116th Congress (2019-20) however, under new Democratic chair Jerrold Nadler, of New York, committee activity resumed and even exceeded its previous pace, fueled by numerous investigative oversight hearings into allegations against President Trump leading to his impeachment. The pandemic-shortened second session of the 116th Congress meant the committee fell behind on legislative and policy hearings, while it turned in a creditable figure of total hearings.
Its 19 investigative oversight hearings were the most the committee held in any of the six Congresses surveyed, and the second highest number in the 116th Congress, surpassed only by Oversight committee. Six hearings dealt with the Mueller report’s findings about the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russian actors and President Trump’s actions to obstruct the investigation. Two others dealt directly with President Trump’s impeachment over seeking detrimental information from Ukraine about his election opponent, Joe Biden. It also held one entitled “Presidential Obstruction and Abuse of Power,” and another called, “Presidential Corruption—Emoluments and Profiting Off the Presidency.” The other major topic of the committee’s investigations concerned the legality and impact of President Trump’s toughened immigration polices. It looked into overcrowding and prolonged detentions at Border Protection facilities, processing delays at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, family separation at the border, the “Muslim Ban,” and years-long backlogs and delays at the country’s immigration courts.
The committee also held two oversight hearings of the Department of Justice, one into the market power of the major online companies, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple, and another into the Sprint-T-Mobile merger.
111th Congress: John Conyers (D-MI)
112th Congress: Lamar Smith (R-TX)
113th Congress: Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
114th Congress: Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
115th Congress: Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
116th Congress: Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
117th Congress: Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
We are 100% of the way through the 117th Congress
House Committee on Judiciary1 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 5% historical maximum
Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]