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New Congressional Leadership
by Greg Siskind

The Senate Judiciary Committee for the 107th Congress has been announced.  In accordance with a power-sharing agreement reached between Senators Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, and Trent Lott, the Republican leader, committee membership will be split 50-50 to reflect the overall 50-50 split in the Senate.  The membership of the Judiciary Committee is as follows:

Republicans:
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Bob Smith (R-NH)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Strom Thurmond (R-SC)

Democrats:
Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Russell Feingold (D-MN)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)

The membership of the Committee is the same as it was during the 106th Congress, except for the two Republican members who lost their re-election bids, John Ashcroft and Spencer Abraham, both of whom have been nominated for Cabinet positions in the new administration.  Patrick Leahy will be the Chairman until January 20, at which time Orrin Hatch will resume his position as Chairman.  The reason for this is that in cases of a tie vote, the Vice-President, who is the President of the Senate, is called upon to vote.  Until January 20, Al Gore is the Vice-President, giving the balance of power to the Democrats.  After the inauguration on January 20, Dick Cheney will be the Vice-President, giving the tie-breaking vote to the Republicans.

The Immigration Subcommittee, which is part of the Judiciary Committee, will be composed of the following Senators:

Republicans:
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)

Democrats:
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA), ranking minority member
Charles Schumer (D-NY)

As with the Judiciary Committee, the membership is the same as it was during the 106th Congress, with the exception of former Chairman Spencer Abraham.  The new chairman of the subcommittee has not yet been selected.

The House of Representatives has also announced the new membership of the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration and Claims Subcommittee.  The Judiciary Committee membership is as follows:

Republicans:
James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Bob Barr (R-GA)
Chris Cannon (R-UT)
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Howard Coble (R-NC)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
George Gekas (R-PA)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Mark Green (R-WI)
Melissa Hart (R-PA)
John Hostettler (R-IN)
Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)
Darrell Issa (R-CA)
William Jenkins (R-TN)
Ric Keller (R-FL)
Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Democrats
John Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Minority Member
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Howard Berman (D-CA)
Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Mel Watt (D-NC)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Marty Meehan (D-MA)
William Delahunt (D-MA)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Steven Rothman (D-NY)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Anthony David Weiner (D-NY)

Four of the Republican members, Flake, Hart, Issa and Keller, were first elected to the House last November.  Two others, Green and Hostettler, were already members of the House.  Other than that, all the Republicans listed were already members of the Judiciary Committee.  All of the Democrats were previously members of the Committee.

The Immigration Subcommittee membership will likely be as follows:

Republicans:
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
Chris Cannon (R-UT)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

Democrats:
Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ranking Minority Member
Howard Berman (D-CA)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Marty Meehan (D-MA)

A new chairman for the subcommittee has not yet been selected.  However, we do know that it will likely not be Rep. Smith.  When the Republicans gained control of the House in 1994, they implemented rules creating a six-year limit on chairmanships.  Smith has been Chair of the subcommittee for six years, and without a special exception being made in his case, will not be the chair during the next Congress.

There is speculation about who the Immigration Subcommittee Chairman will be.  Some have suggested that it will be Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), and there are also rumors that Rep. Sam Brownback (R-KS) might join the Judiciary Committee and be the Immigration Subcommittee Chairman.  There have also been suggestions that former Rep. Bill McCollum, who lost his bid for a Senate seat, could be named INS Commissioner.  However, it is not likely that any of these appointments will be made until Bush’s cabinet choices are confirmed.

 


About The Author

Gregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Gregory Siskind went on to receive his law degree from the University of Chicago. For the past several years, he has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and he currently serves as a member of the organization's Technology Committee. He is the current committee chair for the Nashville Bar Association's International Section. Greg is a member of the American Bar Association where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman and on the Council of the Law Practice Management Section. He is also a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Nashville Bar Association and the Memphis Bar Association. He serves on the board of the British American Business Association of Tennessee. And he serves on the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and on the executive boards of the Jewish Family Service agencies in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. He recently was named one of the Top 40 executives under age 40 in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Greg regularly writes on the subject of immigration law. He has written several hundred articles on the subject and is also the author of the new book The J Visa Guidebook, published by Matthew Bender and Company, one of the nation's leading legal publishers. He is working on another book for Matthew Bender on entertainment and sports immigration.

Greg is also, in many ways, a pioneer in the use of the Internet in the legal profession. He was one of the first lawyers in the country (and the very first immigration lawyer) to set up a web site for his practice. And he was the first attorney in the world to distribute a firm newsletter via e-mail listserv. Mr. Siskind is the author of the American Bar Association's best selling book, The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. He has been interviewed and profiled in a number of leading publications and media including USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lawyers Weekly, the ABA Journal, the National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Law Practice Management Magazine, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the Washington Post. As one of the leading experts in the country on the use of the Internet in a legal practice, Greg speaks regularly at forums across the United States, Canada and Europe.

In his personal life, Greg is the husband of Audrey Siskind and the proud father of Eden Shoshana and Lily Jordana. He also enjoys collecting rare newspapers and running in marathons and triathlons. He can be reached by email at GSiskind@visalaw.com.



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