House Judiciary roster faces post-election shake-up

Rep. Howard Berman's (D-Calif.) loss to fellow Democrat Brad Sherman leaves an open seat on the panel and deals a tough blow to the entertainment industry.


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Berman was a loyal advocate for the entertainment industry's policy issues while serving on Judiciary, including pushing for tougher protections for copyrighted movies and music online. He was also an early supporter of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, which was shelved earlier this year after Google, Wikipedia and other sites launched online protests against it.

The committee's top leadership spots will also get reshuffled. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is expected to head up Judiciary in the next Congress, as current chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is term-limited. Smith is expected to make a bid for the chairman seat on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, according to a tech insider.

With Goodlatte slated to chair the committee, that leaves the Intellectual Property (IP) subcommittee chairmanship up for grabs. The subpanel oversees several issues that are important to tech, including antitrust, copyright, patent and trademark matters. Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) has said he's going to make another run at chairing the IP sub-panel, but no decisions have been made on who will get the gavel.

Tech insiders are also keeping an eye on who will lead Judiciary's sub-panel on immigration after Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) retires at the end of the session. The immigration sub-panel will take the reins on high-skilled immigration reform, which is expected to surface again in the next Congress. 

After losing their primary races earlier this year, Reps. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) will also not be back on the committee.  In addition, Rep. Mike Pence's (R-Ind.) seat on Judiciary will be open after he won Indiana's gubernatorial race on Tuesday night.


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