The Senate Judiciary Committee will have three new faces on the Republican side as the 116th Congress gets underway today: Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa, Senator Marsh Blackburn from Tennessee, and Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri. Senators Ernst and Blackburn will be the first two women to ever serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the Republicans. These new committee members will be in the spotlight as the Senate Judiciary Committee looks to continue confirmation hearings on judges and cabinet members, especially the already announced hearing on President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, which will take place on January 15 and 16, per a statement released by outgoing Chairman Chuck Grassley and incoming Chairman Lindsey Graham.
Senator Joni Ernst was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. She is the first woman ever to represent Iowa in either the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate, and she is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate from any state. In addition to her newly (anticipated) appointment of serving on the Senate Judiciary, she will also serve as the Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, being the first woman to hold this position since 2010. Prior to her service on Capitol Hill, Senator Ernst served the country for twenty-three years as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve and the Iowa Army National Guard, respectively. Immediately prior to her election to the U.S. Senate, she served as the Montgomery County Auditor and in the Iowa State Senate from 2011 to 2014.
Senator Marsha Blackburn was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, becoming the first woman to be elected the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. Immediately prior she served as the U.S. House of Representative from Tennessee’s 7th District since 2002, except for the years 2007-2008. Senator Blackburn has been actively involved in politics throughout her life; serving as the a founding member of the Williamson County Young Republicans, Chair of the Williamson County Republicans, a delegate at the 1992 Republican National Convention, and served in the Tennessee Senate from 1998 to 2003.
Senator Josh Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, becoming the youngest member of the U.S. Senate. Immediately prior to his election to the Senate, he was elected as Attorney General of Missouri in 2016. Prior to his public service, Senator Hawley worked in private practice as an appellate litigator, was an associate professor, clerked for Judge Michael McConnell of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and subsequently clerked for Chief Justice Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court.
These three new members will join a committee expected to be chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who tweeted that if he is selected as Chairman, he will "push for the appointment and Senate confirmation of highly qualified conservative judges to the federal bench."
Under Chairman Graham, these three new members, and the returning Republican members, the Senate Judiciary Committee will ensure that President Trump's excellent judicial nominees will be thoroughly vetted and that Democrats' attacks and attempted character smears will not prevent them from moving forward in the confirmation process.