Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will remain chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under Senate seniority rules, he could have taken over the Senate Appropriations Committee after the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Earlier, it appeared that the Senate and House Judiciary Committees each would have new leaders in the new Congress with opposite positions on gun control. Rep. Robert Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, is taking over the House panel for Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who yielded the post because of term limits. CQ Roll Call reports that Goodlatte “has shut down talk of gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Ct., massacre, a sign that the House will be the largest obstacle to overhauling federal gun laws.”
Said Goodlatte, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, “We're going to take a look at what happened there and what can be done to help avoid it in the future, but gun control is not going to be something that I would support.” Goodlatte named Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to continue as chairman of the subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security, and investigations. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), had seemed poised to take the Judiciary Committee helm Leahy before the Vermonter’s announcement. Feinstein will push to renew the expired federal ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines.