Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 14

Chapter 14. Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees

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Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee Records discussed in this chapter:

14.1 The Judiciary Committee was created in 1813. During its early years a wide range of subjects was referred to it, thus defining a very broad jurisdiction. Each of the other committees described in this chapter was created to administer part of the Judiciary Committee's early jurisdiction, functioned for a period of time, and was eventually reabsorbed into Judiciary.

14.2 Three of the committees -- Freedmen's Affairs, Woman Suffrage, and Alcoholic Liquor Traffic -- were established to deal with very specific problems, and, in each case, the problem was resolved by the passage of an amendment to the Constitution. Each of the committees was disbanded shortly after the passage of the amendment and its jurisdiction was returned to the Judiciary Committee.

14.3 Under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 the jurisdictions of the Committees on Patents, on Immigration and Naturalization, and on Revision of Laws were combined with that of the old Judiciary Committee to form the modern Judiciary Committee. The Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business is described here because some of its duties were similar to those of the Committee on Revision of Laws. The jurisdictions of the Committees on Claims and on War Claims were also transferred to the Judiciary Committee under the 1946 act.

14.4 The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC, 1942-75) was created during a crisis. After the dissolution of HUAC, its jurisdiction and records were returned to the Judiciary Committee, which had traditionally dealt with subversive activities.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.