Seniority in the United States Senate

United States senators are conventionally ranked by the length of their tenure in the Senate. The senator in each U.S. state with the longer time in office is known as the senior senator; the other is the junior senator. This convention has no official standing, though seniority confers several benefits, including preference in the choice of committee assignments and physical offices. When senators have been in office for the same length of time, a number of tiebreakers, including previous offices held, are used to determine seniority.

Benefits of seniority

The United States Constitution does not mandate differences in rights or power, but Senate rules give more power to senators with more seniority. Generally, senior senators will have more power, especially within their own caucuses. In addition, by custom, senior senators from the president's party control federal patronage appointments in their states.

There are several benefits, including the following:

  • The president pro tempore of the Senate is traditionally the most senior member of the majority party.
  • Senators are given preferential treatment in choosing committee assignments based on seniority. Seniority on a committee is based on length of time serving on that committee, which means a senator may rank above another in committee seniority but be more junior in the full Senate. Although the committee chairmanship is an elected position, it is traditionally given to the most senior senator of the majority party serving on the committee, and not already holding a conflicting position such as chairmanship of another committee. The ranking member of a committee (called the vice-chairman in some select committees) is elected in the same way.
  • Greater seniority enables a senator to choose a desk closer to the front of the Senate Chamber.
  • Senators with higher seniority may choose to move into better office space as those offices are vacated.
  • Seniority determines the ranking in the United States order of precedence although other factors, such as being a former president or First Lady, can place an individual higher in the order of precedence.

Determining the beginning of a term

The beginning of an appointment does not necessarily coincide with the date the Senate convenes or when the new senator is sworn in. In the case of senators first elected in a general election for the upcoming Congress, their terms begin on the first day of the new Congress. Since 1935, that means January 3 of odd-numbered years. The seniority date for an appointed senator is usually the date of the appointment, although the actual term does not begin until they take the oath of office. An incoming senator who holds another office, including membership in the U.S. House of Representatives, must resign from that office before becoming a senator.

Determining length of seniority

A senator's seniority is primarily determined by length of continuous service; for example, a senator who has served for 12 years is more senior than one who has served for 10 years. Because several new senators usually join at the beginning of a new Congress, seniority is determined by prior federal or state government service and, if necessary, the amount of time spent in the tiebreaking office. These tiebreakers in order are:[1]

  1. Former senator
  2. Former vice president
  3. Former House member
  4. Former Cabinet secretary
  5. Former state governor
  6. Population of state based on the most recent census when the senator took office
  7. Alphabetical by last name (in case two senators came from the same state on the same day and have identical credentials)

When more than one senator has served in the same previous role, length of time in that prior office is used to break the tie. For instance, Ben Cardin, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Amy Klobuchar, Sheldon Whitehouse and Jon Tester took office on January 3, 2007, and the first three senators mentioned had previously served in the House of Representatives. Cardin, having served 20 years, is more senior than Sanders, who served 16 years, who in turn is more senior than Brown who served 14 years. Casey, Klobuchar, Whitehouse, and Tester rank in that order because as of the 2000 census, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Montana had populations that ranked in that order, so Tester is ranked 33rd in seniority when the 116th United States Congress convened.

Current seniority list

Only relevant factors are listed below. For senators whose seniority is based on their state's respective population, the state population ranking is given as determined by the relevant United States Census current at the time that they began service.[2][3][4]

  Republican (53)       Democratic (45)       Independent (2)

Current
rank
Historical
rank[a][1]
Senator Party State Seniority date Other factors Committee and leadership positions
1 1692 Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont January 3, 1975 Ranking Member: Appropriations
President pro tempore emeritus
2 1743 Chuck Grassley Republican Iowa January 3, 1981 President pro tempore
Chair: Finance
3 1766 Mitch McConnell Republican Kentucky January 3, 1985 Majority Leader
4 1775 Richard Shelby Republican[b] Alabama January 3, 1987 Chair: Appropriations
5 1801 Dianne Feinstein Democratic California November 4, 1992 Ranking Member: Judiciary
Co-Chair: International Narcotics Control Caucus
6 1810 Patty Murray Democratic Washington January 3, 1993 Ranking Member: HELP
Assistant Minority Leader
7 1816 Jim Inhofe Republican Oklahoma November 16, 1994 Chair: Armed Services
8 1827 Ron Wyden Democratic Oregon February 6, 1996 Ranking Member: Finance
9 1830 Pat Roberts Republican Kansas January 3, 1997 Former House member (16 years) Chair: Agriculture
10 1831 Dick Durbin Democratic Illinois Former House member (14 years) Minority Whip
11 1835 Jack Reed Democratic Rhode Island Former House member (6 years) Ranking Member: Armed Services
12 1842 Susan Collins Republican Maine Maine 38th in population (1990) Chair: Aging
13 1843 Mike Enzi Republican Wyoming Wyoming 50th in population (1990) Chair: Budget
14 1844 Chuck Schumer Democratic New York January 3, 1999 Former House member (18 years) Minority Leader
15 1846 Mike Crapo Republican Idaho Former House member (6 years) Chair: Banking
16 1855 Tom Carper Democratic Delaware January 3, 2001 Former House member (10 years) Ranking Member: Environment
17 1856 Debbie Stabenow Democratic Michigan Former House member (4 years) Ranking Member: Agriculture
Democratic Policy Committee Chair
18 1859 Maria Cantwell[c] Democratic Washington Former House member (2 years) Ranking Member: Commerce
19 1867 John Cornyn Republican Texas December 2, 2002 Chair: International Narcotics Control Caucus
20 1868 Lisa Murkowski Republican Alaska December 20, 2002[d] Chair: Energy
21 1870 Lindsey Graham Republican South Carolina January 3, 2003 Former House member Chair: Judiciary
22 1871 Lamar Alexander Republican Tennessee Chair: HELP
23 1876 Richard Burr Republican North Carolina January 3, 2005 Former House member (10 years) Chair: Intelligence
24 1879 John Thune Republican South Dakota Former House member (6 years) Majority Whip
25 1880 Johnny Isakson Republican Georgia Former House member (5 yrs., 10 mos.) Chair: Veterans' Affairs
Chair: Ethics
26 1885 Bob Menendez Democratic New Jersey January 17, 2006[d]   Ranking Member: Foreign Relations
27 1886 Ben Cardin Democratic Maryland January 3, 2007 Former House member (20 years) Ranking Member: Small Business
28 1887 Bernie Sanders Independent Vermont Former House member (16 years) Ranking Member: Budget
Democratic Outreach Chair
29 1888 Sherrod Brown Democratic Ohio Former House member (14 years) Ranking Member: Banking
30 1890 Bob Casey Jr. Democratic Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 6th in population (2000) Ranking Member: Aging
31 1893 Amy Klobuchar Democratic Minnesota Minnesota 21st in population (2000) Ranking Member: Rules
Democratic Steering Committee Chair
32 1894 Sheldon Whitehouse Democratic Rhode Island Rhode Island 43rd in population (2000)
33 1895 Jon Tester Democratic Montana Montana 44th in population (2000) Ranking Member: Veterans' Affairs
34 1896 John Barrasso Republican Wyoming June 22, 2007[d] Chair: Environment
Republican Conference Chair
35 1897 Roger Wicker Republican Mississippi December 31, 2007[d] Chair: Commerce
36 1899 Tom Udall Democratic New Mexico January 3, 2009 Former House member Vice Chair: Indian Affairs
37 1901 Jeanne Shaheen Democratic New Hampshire Former governor (6 years)
38 1902 Mark Warner Democratic Virginia Former governor (4 years) Vice Chair: Intelligence
Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
39 1903 Jim Risch Republican Idaho Former governor (7 months) Chair: Foreign Relations
40 1905 Jeff Merkley Democratic Oregon
41 1909 Michael Bennet Democratic Colorado January 21, 2009[d]
42 1910 Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic New York January 26, 2009[d]
43 1916 Joe Manchin Democratic West Virginia November 15, 2010 Former governor Ranking Member: Energy
Democratic Policy Committee Vice Chair
44 1917 Chris Coons Democratic Delaware Vice Chair: Ethics
45 1919 Roy Blunt Republican Missouri January 3, 2011 Former House member (14 years);
Missouri 17th in population (2000)
Chair: Rules
Republican Policy Committee Chair
46 1920 Jerry Moran Republican Kansas Former House member (14 years);
Kansas 33rd in population (2000)
47 1921 Rob Portman Republican Ohio Former House member (12 years)
48 1922 John Boozman Republican Arkansas Former House member (10 years)
49 1923 Pat Toomey Republican Pennsylvania Former House member (6 years)
50 1924 John Hoeven Republican North Dakota Former governor Chair: Indian Affairs
51 1925 Marco Rubio Republican Florida Florida 4th in population (2000) Chair: Small Business
52 1926 Ron Johnson Republican Wisconsin Wisconsin 20th in population (2000) Chair: Homeland Security
53 1927 Rand Paul Republican Kentucky Kentucky 25th in population (2000)
54 1928 Richard Blumenthal Democratic Connecticut Connecticut 29th in population (2000)
55 1929 Mike Lee Republican Utah Utah 34th in population (2000) Republican Steering Committee Chair
56 1932 Brian Schatz Democratic Hawaii December 26, 2012[d]
57 1933 Tim Scott Republican South Carolina January 2, 2013[d]
58 1934 Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin January 3, 2013 Former House member (14 years) Democratic Caucus Secretary
59 1937 Chris Murphy Democratic Connecticut Former House member (6 years);
Connecticut 29th in population (2010)
60 1938 Mazie Hirono Democratic Hawaii Former House member (6 years);
Hawaii 40th in population (2010)
61 1939 Martin Heinrich Democratic New Mexico Former House member (4 years)
62 1940 Angus King Independent Maine Former governor (8 years)
63 1941 Tim Kaine Democratic Virginia Former governor (4 years)
64 1942 Ted Cruz Republican Texas Texas 2nd in population (2010)
65 1943 Elizabeth Warren Democratic Massachusetts Massachusetts 14th in population (2010) Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
66 1944 Deb Fischer Republican Nebraska Nebraska 38th in population (2010)
67 1948 Ed Markey Democratic Massachusetts July 16, 2013
68 1949 Cory Booker Democratic New Jersey October 31, 2013
69 1951 Shelley Moore Capito Republican West Virginia January 3, 2015 Former House member (14 years)
70 1952 Gary Peters Democratic Michigan Former House member (6 years);
Michigan 8th in population (2010)
Ranking Member: Homeland Security
71 1953 Bill Cassidy Republican Louisiana Former House member (6 years);
Louisiana 25th in population (2010)
72 1954 Cory Gardner Republican Colorado Former House member (4 years);
Colorado 22nd in population (2010)
73 1955 James Lankford Republican Oklahoma Former House member (4 years);
Oklahoma 28th in population (2010)
74 1956 Tom Cotton Republican Arkansas Former House member (2 years);
Arkansas 32nd in population (2010)
75 1957 Steve Daines Republican Montana Former House member (2 years);
Montana 44th in population (2010)
76 1958 Mike Rounds Republican South Dakota Former governor
77 1959 David Perdue Republican Georgia Georgia 9th in population (2010)
78 1960 Thom Tillis Republican North Carolina North Carolina 10th in population (2010)
79 1961 Joni Ernst Republican Iowa Iowa 30th in population (2010) Republican Conference Vice Chair
80 1962 Ben Sasse Republican Nebraska Nebraska 38th in population (2010)
81 1963 Dan Sullivan Republican Alaska Alaska 47th in population (2010)
82 1964 Chris Van Hollen Democratic Maryland January 3, 2017 Former House member (14 years)
83 1965 Todd Young Republican Indiana Former House member (6 years) NRSC Chair
84 1966 Tammy Duckworth Democratic Illinois Former House member (4 years)
85 1967 Maggie Hassan Democratic New Hampshire Former governor
86 1968 Kamala Harris Democratic California California 1st in population (2010)
87 1969 John Neely Kennedy Republican Louisiana Louisiana 25th in population (2010)
88 1970 Catherine Cortez Masto Democratic Nevada Nevada 35th in population (2010) DSCC Chair
89 1972 Tina Smith Democratic Minnesota January 3, 2018 Minnesota 21st in population (2010)
90 1973 Doug Jones Democratic Alabama Alabama 23rd in population (2010)
91 1974 Cindy Hyde-Smith Republican Mississippi April 2, 2018[d]
92 1975 Marsha Blackburn Republican Tennessee January 3, 2019 Former House member (16 years)
93 1976 Kyrsten Sinema[e] Democratic Arizona Former House member (6 years);
Arizona 16th in population (2010)
94 1977 Kevin Cramer Republican North Dakota Former House member (6 years);
North Dakota 48th in population (2010)
95 1978 Martha McSally Republican Arizona Former House member (4 years)
96 1979 Jacky Rosen Democratic Nevada Former House member (2 years)
97 1980 Mitt Romney Republican Utah Former governor
98 1981 Mike Braun Republican Indiana Indiana 15th in population (2010)
99 1982 Josh Hawley Republican Missouri Missouri 18th in population (2010)
100 1983 Rick Scott Republican Florida January 8, 2019
Rank Historical
rank
Senator Party State Seniority date Other factors Committee and leadership positions

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Historical rank" refers to the senator's seniority over the entire history of the Senate since 1789. This is an absolute number that does not change from one Congress to the next.
  2. ^ Richard Shelby's 1994 party change did not break his service or seniority.
  3. ^ Maria Cantwell (#18) is the Senate's most senior junior senator.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i The seniority date for an appointed senator is the date of the appointment, not necessarily the date of taking the oath of office. See Determining the beginning of a term, above.
  5. ^ Kyrsten Sinema (#93) is the Senate's most junior senior senator.

References

  1. ^ a b "Senators of the United States 1789–present, A chronological list of senators since the First Congress in 1789" (PDF). Senate Historical Office. April 17, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "1991 U.S Census Report" (PDF).
  3. ^ American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "2000 Census State Population Rankings". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  4. ^ "Resident Population Data (Text Version) – 2010 Census, by state and census region".
Barbara Boxer

Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is a retired American politician who served as a United States senator for California from 1993 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Boxer graduated from George Wingate High School and Brooklyn College. She worked as a stockbroker for several years before moving to California with her husband. During the 1970s, she worked as a journalist for the Pacific Sun and as an aide to U.S. Representative John L. Burton. She served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors for six years and became the board's first female president. With the slogan "Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn", she was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, representing California District 6. She served on the House Armed Services Committee, and was involved in government oversight, passing several procurement reforms.

Boxer won the 1992 election for the U.S. Senate. Running for a third term in 2004, she received 6.96 million votes and set a record for the most votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, until her colleague, Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California, surpassed that number in her 2012 re-election. Boxer and Feinstein were the first female pair of U.S. Senators representing any state at the same time. Boxer was the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the vice chair of the Select Committee on Ethics. She was also the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip. Although generally identified with the San Francisco Bay Area, where her political career began, Boxer now lives in the Coachella Valley.

At the time of her retirement, Boxer ranked eleventh in seniority in the United States Senate, and was the most senior junior Senator from the retirement of Tom Harkin in January 2015 until her own retirement two years later. She was also dean of the California Congressional Delegation, since she had spent 10 years as a US Representative for California's 6th district before being elected to the Senate in 1993.

On January 8, 2015, Boxer announced that she would not seek re-election in 2016. She was succeeded by former California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Chris Murphy

Christopher Scott Murphy (born August 3, 1973) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Connecticut since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Connecticut's 5th congressional district from 2007 to 2013. Before being elected to Congress, Murphy was a member of both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, serving two terms each in the Connecticut House of Representatives (1999–2003) and the Connecticut Senate (2003–07).

Murphy ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012 after long-time incumbent Joe Lieberman announced in January 2011 that he would retire from politics rather than seeking a fifth term in office. He defeated former Connecticut secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz in the Democratic primary, and subsequently defeated Republican candidate Linda McMahon for the open seat in the general election. Aged 39 at the time, Murphy was the youngest Senator of the 113th Congress. Arkansas' Tom Cotton, elected at age 37, later surpassed Murphy as the youngest incumbent Senator, two years later.

List of United States senators in the 110th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 110th United States Congress listed by seniority, from January 3, 2007, to January 3, 2009. It is meant as a historical listing and thus contains senators who have died or left office (such as Senator Thomas and Senator Lott). For a current listing of senators please go to Seniority in the United States Senate.

Order of service is based on the commencement of the senator's first term. Behind this is former service as a U.S. senator (only giving the senator seniority within his or her new incoming class), service as U.S. Vice President, a House member, a cabinet secretary, a state governor, and then by their state's population, respectively.Senators who were sworn in in the middle of the two-year congressional term (up until the last senator who was not sworn in early after winning the November 2008 election) are listed at the end of the list with no number.

List of current United States senators

The United States Senate consists of 100 members, two from each of the 50 states. Below is a list of U.S. senators in the 116th United States Congress.

List of former United States senators

This is a complete list of all people who previously served in the United States Senate.

In the party affiliation column, if a Senator switched parties and served non-consecutive terms, their affiliation for each term is listed on the corresponding line. If one of these Senators also served multiple non-consecutive terms with the same party, a quotation mark indicates that their affiliation did not change between that term and their preceding term.

List of living former United States senators

This is a list of living former United States senators. There are currently 163 people listed. Hawaii, Kentucky, and Vermont are currently the only states without a surviving former senator. Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming each have just one living former senator. Colorado and Minnesota have the most living former senators, with 7 as of October 8, 2018.

List of presidents pro tempore of the United States Senate

The president pro tempore of the United States Senate (also president pro tem) is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article I, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the Vice President, despite not being a senator, is the President of the Senate. It also establishes that the Senate must choose a president pro tempore to act in his absence:

The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The president pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions in the vice president's absence. In practice, neither the vice president nor the president pro tempore usually presides; instead, the duty of presiding officer is rotated among junior senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure.

The president pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and ahead of the Secretary of State.Since 1890, the most senior senator in the majority party has generally been chosen to be president pro tempore, and holds the office continuously until the election of another president pro tempore. During most of the 62nd Congress, following William Frye's resignation on April 27, 1911, five senators—Augustus Bacon, Charles Curtis, Jacob Gallinger, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Frank Brandegee—alternated as president pro tempore.

In 2001, the honorary title of president pro tempore emeritus was created, has been given to a senator of the minority party who has previously served as president pro tempore.

Since the office was created in 1789, 90 individuals, from 39 of the 50 states, have served as President pro tempore of the Senate. The number of presidents pro tempore from each state are:

One: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin;

Two: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Utah;

Three: Massachusetts, Ohio, and Pennsylvania;

Four: Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont;

Six: Georgia, and New Hampshire;

Seven: Virginia.

Lists of United States Congress

This is an incomplete list of lists pertaining to the United States Congress.

President pro tempore of the United States Senate

The president pro tempore of the United States Senate (often shortened to president pro tem) is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article One, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the vice president of the United States is the president of the Senate (despite not being a senator), and mandates that the Senate must choose a president pro tempore to act in the vice president's absence. Unlike the vice president, the president pro tempore is an elected member of the Senate, able to speak or vote on any issue. Selected by the Senate at large, the president pro tempore has enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers. During the vice president's absence, the president pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions. In practice, neither the vice president nor the president pro tempore usually presides; instead, the duty of presiding officer is rotated among junior U.S. senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure.Since 1890, the most senior U.S. senator in the majority party has generally been chosen to be president pro tempore and holds the office continuously until the election of another. This tradition has been observed without interruption since 1949. Since the enactment of the current Presidential Succession Act in 1947, the president pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives and ahead of the secretary of state.The current president pro tempore of the Senate is Iowa Republican Charles Grassley. Elected on January 3, 2019, he is the 91st person to serve in this office.

Seniority

Seniority is the concept of a person or group of people taking precedence over another person or group because the former is either older than the latter or has occupied a particular position longer than the latter. Seniority is present between parents and children and may be present in other common relationships, such as among siblings of different ages or between workers and their managers.

Under a seniority system, control is often granted to senior persons due to length of service in a given position. When persons of senior rank have less length of service than their subordinates, "seniority" may apply to either concept.

Seniority in the United States House of Representatives

This is a complete list of current members of the United States House of Representatives based on seniority. For the most part, representatives are ranked by the beginning of their terms in office. Representatives whose terms begin the same day are ranked alphabetically by last name.

United States order of precedence

The United States order of precedence lists the ceremonial order for domestic and foreign government officials (military and civilian) at diplomatic, ceremonial, and social events within the United States and abroad. Former presidents, vice presidents, first ladies, second ladies, and secretaries of state and retired Supreme Court justices are also included in the list. The order is established by the president, through the Office of the Chief of Staff, and is maintained by the State Department's Office of the Chief of Protocol. It is only used to indicate ceremonial protocol and has no legal standing; it does not reflect the presidential line of succession or the co-equal status of the branches of government under the Constitution. The Office of the Chief of Protocol posted an updated order of precedence on November 3, 2017.

Lists of United States senators in Congress by seniority
Before ratification of
the 17th Amendment
After ratification of
the 17th Amendment
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