Seniority in the United States Senate


Seniority in the United States Senate

The seniority in the United States Senate is based upon a series of ranked factors; only resorting to the next factor when tied. [cite web| url=http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/senators_chronological.htm |title= A Chronological List of United States Senators 1789-Present| publisher= Official website of the United States Senate| date=|accessdate=]

Senior Senator and Junior Senator are terms commonly used in the media to describe United States Senators. Each state sends two senators to serve in the Senate; the longer (continuously) serving of the two is by convention referred to as the senior senator, and the other is referred to as the junior senator. If both are elected at the same time (e.g., one in a regular election and the other simultaneously to fill the seat of a senator who resigned), the one who is sworn in first is senior.

There is no mandated difference in rights or power, although Senate rules give more power to senators with more seniority. Generally, senior senators will have more power, though being a member of the majority party is more advantageous than being senior. In addition, by custom the senior senators from the president's party control federal patronage appointments in their states. Thus being the junior senator is disadvantageous if the senior one is from the same party.

Some of the perquisites of seniority offered by the U.S. Senate:

*Senators are given preferential treatment for committee assignments based on seniority. 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. Ranking member (called Vice-Chairman in some select committees) of a committee is the most senior member of the minority party thereon.
*Greater seniority enables a senator to choose a desk closer to the front of the Senate Chamber.

Traditionally, seniority brings with it greater clout. As a result of this, it is fairly difficult for the more junior members of both houses of Congress to have a significant impact on policy. Notable exceptions to this include Lyndon B. Johnson (elected in 1948), who was junior to Thomas T. Connally (elected in 1928); Joseph McCarthy (elected to Senate in 1946), who was junior to Alexander Wiley (elected to Senate in 1938); and Trent Lott (elected 1988), who was junior to Thad Cochran (elected 1978).

Current seniority list

The president pro tempore of the Senate is traditionally the most senior member of the majority party. The current president pro tempore, Robert Byrd, is also the dean of the United States Senate.

Only relevant factors are listed. For instance, Robert Byrd's time with the House of Representatives no longer has any bearing on his seniority, so it is not listed.
# Amount of consecutive time serving as U.S. senator
# Previous U.S. senator (non-consecutive)
# Length of time serving as a senator in previous non-consecutive terms
# Previous U.S. representative
# Length of time serving as a U.S. representative
# Previous president
# Previous vice president
# Previous cabinet member
# Previous state governor
# Population of state based on the most recent census when the senator took office
# Alphabetical by last name (in the rare instance that two senators came from the same state on the same day and have identical credentials)

For senators who have a cited, verified census the state population ranking is listed. [ [http://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/1971-02.pdf 1971 U.S Census Report] Contains 1970 Census results.] [ [http://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/1981-02.pdf 1981 U.S Census Report] Contains 1980 Census results.] [ [http://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/1991-01.pdf 1991 U.S Census Report] Contains 1990 Census results.] [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=n&_lang=en&mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_GCTPH1R_US9S&format=US-9S&_box_head_nbr=GCT-PH1-R&ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&geo_id=01000US| 2000 Census State Population Rankings] ]

ee also

*United States Census, 2000
*United States Census, 1990
*United States Census, 1980
*United States Census, 1970
*List of current United States Representatives by seniority

Notes


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