The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, informally the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of 21 U.S. Senators whose role is to oversee the Department of Justice (DOJ), consider executive nominations, and review pending legislation.
The Judiciary Committee’s oversight of the DOJ includes all of the agencies under the DOJ’s jurisdiction, such as the FBI. It also has oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Committee considers presidential nominations for positions in the DOJ, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the State Justice Institute, and certain positions in the Department of Commerce and DHS. It is also in charge of holding hearings and investigating judicial nominations to the Supreme Court, the U.S. court of appeals, the U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade. The Standing Rules of the Senate confer jurisdiction to the Senate Judiciary Committee in certain areas, such as considering proposed constitutional amendments and legislation related to federal criminal law, human rights law, immigration, intellectual property, antitrust law, and internet privacy.
Established in 1816 as one of the original standing committees in the United States Senate, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is one of the oldest and most influential committees in Congress. Its broad legislative jurisdiction has assured its primary role as a forum for the public discussion of social and constitutional issues. The Committee is also responsible for oversight of key activities of the executive branch, and is responsible for the initial stages of the confirmation process of all judicial nominations for the federal judiciary.
In January 2018, the Democratic minority had their number of seats increase from 9 to 10 upon the election of Doug Jones (D-AL), changing the 52–48 Republican majority to 51–49.