Disgraced Representative John Conyers is “retiring” amid the sexual harassment allegations against him. That left an opening for the top Democratic spot on the House Judiciary Committee, a powerful body of lawmakers.
Two representatives were vying for the spot and Democrats have finally made a decision between Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The House Democratic Caucus voted 118 to 72 in favor of Nadler who has served 13 terms.
Some are characterizing the win as a victory for the seniority system. This allows members who have been serving the longest to amass huge amounts of power. Serving as the top Party official on the Judiciary Committee would certainly count.
Congratulations to @RepJerryNadler on his election as Ranking Member for @HouseJudDems. We know that both he and @RepZoeLofgren will provide strong progressive leadership on the committee in the coming years.
— Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) December 20, 2017
Among the big issues when voting, Democrats were likely considering the possibility of an impeachment process.
Nadler had emphasized that point in the past weeks. Lofgren, a 12-term liberal from San Francisco has impeachment experience as well. She participated in both the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton proceedings. She chose to downplay the possibility of a President Trump impeachment though, calling it too uncertain and premature to influence the race.
Congratulations to champion for #LGBTQ equality @RepJerryNadler on his election as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. @HRC looks forward to continuing to work together toward full legal equality and passage of the Equality Act.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) December 20, 2017
Lofgren instead focused on her ability to combat the president’s immigration policies. She is an immigration lawyer. Lofgren also emphasized that the Judiciary Committee has never had a woman chair or even as a ranking member.
She might have believed the current climate of sexual harassment scandals could work in her favor towards a win. Nadler was well-supported by many female lawmakers though
Amid all the calls from younger members of the Party for new leadership, either Nadler or Lofgren would have been a win for the seniority-based advocates. Nadler’s emphasis on the impeachment, which is still a big hope for many liberals, gave him the edge.
— T.S. (Tim) White (@TheSereneWay) December 20, 2017
In his victory speech, he said it was “a critical time” in history for our country;
“Our efforts to hold the administration and those wishing to turn back history’s long arc towards justice accountable are central to the defense of progress and democracy. We must fight to protect the rule of law, strengthen our safety and security from enemies foreign and domestic, shield Americans’ rights and liberties from encroachment, and guarantee that all people, no matter their age, race, gender, religion, ability, finances, nationality, or sexual orientation, are treated fairly and equally.”
Source: The Hill