Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), the most recent ranking member of the committee, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) both retired from the Senate at the end of the 112th Congress. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who was poised to succeed Hutchison as the committee's ranking member, resigned from the Senate last month to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation.
In addition, Cruz will join his freshman colleague Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on the Senate Judiciary Committee after Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) retired at the end of the session. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will not be returning to the panel.
Senate Republicans said the committee assignments are pending ratification by the GOP conference and the full Senate.