Nadler to fill Conyers' slot as top Democrat on House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, speaks at an event to support the re-election of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in October 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Story highlights

  • The Judiciary panel would likely lead impeachment proceedings if Dems win the House
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler replaces former Rep. John Conyers who abruptly resigned

(CNN)Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York will replace former Rep. John Conyers of Michigan as the most powerful Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Conyers, who represented parts of the Detroit area, stepped down from his position on the panel and abruptly retired from Congress earlier this month amid allegations of sexual harassment.
The Democratic caucus voted Wednesday morning to make Nadler the new ranking member, while Rep. Val Demmings, a freshman congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, will fill the vacancy on the committee.
    In his 13th term in Congress, Nadler represents parts of Manhattan and also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Prior to Conyers' resignation, Nadler was the second most senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
    One of the issues the Judiciary Committee deals with is impeachment. If Democrats win back the House in next year's midterm elections, Nadler would hold the gavel if impeachment proceedings are initiated.
    Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, who is retiring at the end of this term, congratulated Nadler and stressed areas where they have worked across party lines.
    "Jerry and I have worked across the aisle to advance many important pieces of legislation," Goodlatte said in a statement. "From banning bulk data collection and protecting Americans' privacy in the digital age to reforming our criminal justice system, fighting the increase in patent abuses and reviewing our copyright laws, we have tackled a broad range of issues. I look forward to continuing this important work as Jerry assumes the Ranking Member position."