The Judiciary Committee
The Judiciary Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictions in the Senate, ranging from criminal justice and immigration issues to antitrust and intellectual property law.
Senator Feinstein served as the ranking member of the committee from 2017 to 2021. She is currently chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law.
Senator Feinstein is a leader on a number of issues that fall within the committee’s jurisdiction.
Safeguarding communities has long been one of Senator Feinstein’s priorities. She has achieved passage of several important pieces of legislation to fight crime and strengthen the rights of crime victims including:
- Ryan Haight Act, to stop rogue pharmacies operating on the Internet and protect the safety of consumers who fill legitimate prescriptions online.
- The Crime Victims’ Rights Act, to give victims specific rights under civil law.
- The Hate Crimes Sentencing Act, to toughened penalties against offenders who commit hate crimes.
- The Combat Methamphetamine Act, to place restrictions on the sale of ingredients needed in the production of methamphetamine.
- The ART Act, to strengthen the rights of all copyright owners who deserve control over their work.
- Reauthorization of the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program
- Legislation that established the nationwide AMBER Alert network.
Senator Feinstein also co-sponsored the bill that created the highly-successful COPS program, which has put 100,000 new cops on the streets nationwide, including more than 14,000 additional officers in California.
Championing marriage equality
Senator Feinstein has long advocated for repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to ensure that married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law regardless of where they live.
Senator Feinstein led a group of 40 Senators and 172 Representatives in filing a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find unconstitutional a key part of DOMA in United States v. Windsor.
Following the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a key part of DOMA, Senator Feinstein urged the Obama administration to ensure that legally married, same-sex couples are accorded equal treatment regardless of where they live.
Senator Feinstein’s bill to fully repeal DOMA, the Respect for Marriage Act, would correct what the Justice Department has identified as ongoing legal barriers to full equality for legally married same-sex couples, such as those that continue to exist within Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Battling identity theft
Senator Feinstein is a longtime proponent of requiring businesses to notify consumers in the event of a security breach, providing for strong security standards for businesses that hold people’s personal data, prohibiting the sale or display of an individual’s Social Security number without his or her consent, and protecting against fraudulent receipt of a person’s federal tax refund.
Ensuring an Effective Judiciary
Senator Feinstein is a strong advocate for ensuring that federal courts have well-qualified judges. Senator Feinstein maintains bipartisan judicial selection committees in each of California’s four federal judicial districts to assist her in recommending highly-qualified candidates to the president for nomination.
Senator Feinstein works to ensure that California’s federal judicial nominees receive prompt and favorable consideration in the Judiciary Committee and confirmation by the full Senate. Recently, several new judges have been confirmed to California’s federal trial courts based in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014 for the first time reached a full complement of 29 active appeals court judges.
Senator Feinstein strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform.
Senator Feinstein led the effort in 2014 to address the severe worker shortage experienced by frustrated farmers across the country by establishing the Agricultural Workers Program in the Senate-passed comprehensive reform bill.
Improving Gun Safety
Senator Feinstein has long advocated for commonsense laws to reduce gun violence including universal background checks, prohibition on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and stronger penalties for gun traffickers.
Senator Feinstein achieved passage of a landmark assault weapons ban in 1994 and fought to reinstate the assault weapons ban following the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.