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Accomplishments of the Judiciary Committee

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Accomplishments of the Judiciary Committee
DATE: December 31, 2004

One of the committees on which I have the opportunity to serve in Congress is the Judiciary Committee, which has far-reaching legislative jurisdiction. In fact, one-third of all legislation introduced in Congress is referred to the Judiciary Committee.

The scope of the Judiciary Committee includes civil and criminal judicial proceedings, federal courts and judges, as well as issues related to bankruptcy, abortion, terrorism, civil liberties, constitutional amendments, copyrights, patents, trademarks, gun owners' rights, immigration, and internet crimes, just to name a few.

Given the heavy legislative workload of the committee, we have a multitude of accomplishments from this past session of Congress to report.

Many important pieces of legislation taken up by the Judiciary Committee became law, including legislation that bans partial birth abortions, ensures that criminals who murder pregnant women can also be charged with the murder of the unborn baby, and protects children from predators. Legislation that helps combat spam e-mail messages, extends the internet access tax moratorium, and increases punishments for identity theft also became law. In addition, legislation to overhaul the intelligence structure in the United States was signed into law.

There were also several bills that passed through the Judiciary Committee and the full House of Representatives but were not considered by the Senate. These bills included legislation that would reform medical malpractice lawsuits, prevent the physical desecration of the flag, prohibit internet gambling, and permanently prohibit human cloning.

I was proud to have introduced legislation that was reported favorably from the Judiciary Committee, including legislation to curb the widespread abuse of frivolous class action lawsuits and legislation to impose strict punishments on those who use spyware to break into users' computers. Both of these bills passed the House of Representatives by wide margins, but did not come before the full Senate for a vote. Another bill I introduced, which would have eliminated the controversial visa lottery program, was also reported favorably from the Judiciary Committee.

I am also pleased to report that provisions from two of the bills that I introduced became law. The first piece of legislation establishes the oak as the national tree of America. The second piece of legislation helps ensure that terrorists do not roam our streets while awaiting trial.

The Judiciary Committee was established in 1813 to consider legislation relating to judicial proceedings. Nearly 200 years later, the scope of the committee has certainly expanded, providing Members who serve there the opportunity to consider and debate some of the most fundamental issues affecting America and her citizens. It is an honor to serve the 6th District and our nation in my capacity on the Judiciary Committee, and I look forward to continued far-reaching legislative work on this important committee in the coming Congress.


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