July 14th, 2009
10:26 AM ET
13 years ago

Why is Senate Judiciary so lopsided?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/14/art.judiciarycmte0714.gi.jpg caption="Twelve Democrats and seven Republicans are seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - When the Senate reorganized after the last election, in which Democrats grew their majority to at least 59 seats, Republicans and Democrats agreed the Democrats would hold an 11 to 8 seat majority in the Judiciary Committee.

In the last Senate, Democrats held a 10-9 edge in that committee. But at the time, the Democrats held a narrower 55-45 seat advantage in the Senate.

After former GOP Sen. Arlen Specter flipped parties, it was decided to just add his Judiciary seat to the Democratic side of the aisle without replacing him on the Republican side.

That gave the Democrats the current 12-7 advantage on the committee.

One note: Sen. Al Franken joined the committee last week, but that didn't change the committee ratio because Sen. Ron Wyden - who at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's request was a place holder on the committee until the Minnesota Senate race was resolved - left the committee upon Franken's arrival.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. yuri

    The judiciary committee may juggle aroung some justifications for their erratic mumbo-jumbo. We believe that is part of human nature to question certain things in life in the legal locker-room.

    July 14, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    When you have the majority of the Senate, you expect to see a lopsided panel. If the shoe were on the other foot, I suspect their would be more republican senaotors on the committee.

    July 14, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. David

    Seven out of 12 is 58%. That's a pretty good reflection of the Dem/GOP split in the Senate as a whole. I find the word 'lopsided' and interesting way to describe it.

    July 14, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. phoenix86

    Everything is now the responsibility of the dems. The economy, unemployment, inflation, interest rates, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,etc....

    They will, of course, continue to blame Bush for the failing Obama policies of the left. Taking responsibility has never been a liberal standard.

    July 14, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. kick the GOP out

    easiest way to settle this is just don't let the GOP in the door

    July 14, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. southerncousin

    The real reason is it takes an unshakeable majority to sell out America and the libs that now control Congress want to make sure they have and they are doing it.

    July 14, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Ted

    Uh, one of your stats is wrong. The Dems never had a 55-45 majority in the last senate, it was 51-49. Remember Jim Webb?

    July 14, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. mb

    Hatch is either asking loaded questions or repeatedly cutting Sotomayor off. He is not even interested in her answers.

    The GOP's bigotry is transparent.

    July 14, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |

    Arlen flipped parties purely for political gain, really has a lot of resolve in his beliefs. Franken should have stayed on the stage.

    July 14, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Sniffit

    Well, if both the Dems and the GOPers agreed to it, then please, someone explain what the issue is? This article = the media just trying to drum up controversy and spark anger in order fabricate "news" and get more clicks, etc., for their advertising masters.

    July 14, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. xargaw

    I think the public at large is going to be surprised by Al Franken. Many on the left that listened to him on the radio know what a detail, issue oriented guy he is. Others see him as a comedian that threw his hat into the political ring. Franken is extremely serious and well versed on the issues. In addition, the affection and admiration he held for the late Paul Wellstone dictate a reverance for the Senate seat he now holds which was Wellstones. He is a very smart man and that is going to surprise a lot of people that only know him by his comedic past.

    July 14, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |