Rep. Steve Chabot is seeking top GOP Judiciary Committee slot; Ohio battle is possible

November 15, 2018

Rep. Steve Chabot is seeking top GOP Judiciary Committee slot; Ohio battle is possible

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cincinnati GOP Rep. Steve Chabot wants to be the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee next year and may end up in a battle over the job with another Ohio Republican: Champaign County GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

Other possible candidates for the post include Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia and Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania.

Chabot - who currently chairs the House Small Business Committee - says he’s been contacting members of the GOP steering committee over the past several months to make the case that he’s the most qualified person to succeed Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte as the committee’s top Republican.

One reason he says he should get the job is the fact that he’s one of the only Republicans left on the committee who played a role in its 1990s effort to impeach Democratic President Bill Clinton. Chabot says that experience would be “invaluable” as the Democratic base pressures the committee to conduct “investigations and impeachment ad nauseum” of cabinet officials, possibly a Supreme Court Justice, and President Donald Trump.

Chabot also notes that he’s drafted important legislation over the years - such as a bill that banned so-called “partial birth abortions.” He said he also spent six years as chairman of the subcommittee where the incoming Democratic chairman of the committee, New York’s Jerry Nadler, was the top Democrat, and knows “his strengths and weaknesses.”

“If there are legitimate things to investigate, I think we ought to be cooperative,” said Chabot. “When they overreach, as I’m sure they will, then I think we should push back aggressively.”

When asked to respond to a Politico report that President Donald Trump was urging GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to make Jordan chairman of the committee, Chabot insisted that he’s better qualified than Jordan or anyone else. But he said the president is welcome to weigh in.

“I have no problem with him coming in,” said Chabot.

Jordan - who lost a run for GOP leader to McCarthy on Wednesday, said he has not decided to seek the post or any other. In past years, he sought chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but was bypassed.

The Politico report also suggested Jordan might become top Republican on that committee, noting that Collins is favored to chair the Judiciary Committee.

“I saw that report in Politico,” said Jordan. “On the Oversight and Judiciary Committees, I have fought hard to defend the truth. I look forward to serving, but whether it is as the ranking member on either one, I don’t know. I haven’t decided whether to run for either.”

Chabot says he expects to know about the job sometime after Thanksgiving. If he doesn’t get the Judiciary Committee post, he is likely to remain top Republican on the Small Business Committee.

“I am not term limited out of that, although my focus is Judiciary,” said Chabot. “I feel confident, but not overconfident that we’ve got the best case to be the head Republican on that committee.”

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