|For Immediate Release
January 19, 2011
Contact: Kimberly Smith Hicks
Smith Hosts Bipartisan Retreat for HJC Members
Washington, D.C. —Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today hosted a bipartisan retreat for members of the House Judiciary Committee. Though Chairman Smith had planned the retreat following the midterm elections, it comes on the heels of the Arizona shooting and calls for national leaders to tone down the rhetoric used in public debates. This is the first time in recent memory that a Chairman of the Judiciary Committee has held a bipartisan retreat.
Chairman Smith: “The House Judiciary Committee is known for being one of the most polarized committees in Congress. Because we deal with some of the most pressing issues facing America, our Members often have strong opinions about policies considered by the Committee. But that does not mean that we cannot find common ground and reach compromises. This retreat is a good start toward what I hope will be a year of bipartisan achievements by the House Judiciary Committee.”
Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.): “This bipartisan retreat is a good kick off to the new Congress. I look forward to working with Lamar Smith over the next Congress as our committee continues to consider many of the nation’s most central issues. I congratulate Chairman Smith on providing the members with a forum for Members on both sides to get to know each other in a less formal setting.”
Participants in the retreat included Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who prior to joining the federal bench served as Chief Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Ted Kennedy. The retreat also included remarks from Wendy Swire, a consultant on negotiation using steps from William Ury’s Getting to Yes/Getting Past No model for effective negotiation. Administration officials from the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Patent and Trademark Office, and Citizenship and Immigration Services also participated in bipartisan discussions.
The House Judiciary Committee deals with high profile issues including national security, civil liberties, immigration enforcement, intellectual property rights, drug trafficking, constitutional amendments and child pornography.