Rep. Steve Chabot, who has been on the House Judiciary Committee for all but two of the last 22 years, says he’s ready to take the gavel for that committee.
Chabot, a Cincinnati Republican who served on the committee when it worked on impeachment proceedings during the Clinton era, said he’ll seek the chairmanship in the next Congress.
The veteran lawmaker - he was first elected in 1994, but did not serve during 2009 and 2010 after losing the 2008 elections - is interested in taking the chair of that committee because of his experience as a practicing attorney and his interest in anti-abortion issues. The committee has oversight of the courts, the Justice Department, and is often involved in issues related to abortion.
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Chabot is now the only Ohio lawmaker serving as a full committee chairman - he is serving as the chairman of the House Small Business Committee - but the Judiciary would be a more prestigious position. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the chairman of the subcommittee on the Constitution. On that subcommittee, Chabot authored the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, which was later challenged in the courts and upheld by the Supreme Court.
If he’s tapped to lead the committee, he would succeed Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who is stepping down as chair at the end of this Congress. He faces Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican who signaled his intention to seek the post earlier this year.
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In order to become chair, however, he’ll face two potentially challenging circumstances: House Republicans will have to battle to keep their majority in the 2018 midterms, and Chabot himself faces a potentially scrappy challenge from Democrat Aftab Pureval, the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, who outraised Chabot by almost half a million last quarter.
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