|Chair of the House Science Committee|
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Ralph Hall|
|Succeeded by||Eddie Bernice Johnson|
|Chair of the House Judiciary Committee|
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||John Conyers|
|Succeeded by||Bob Goodlatte|
|Chair of the House Ethics Committee|
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||James V. Hansen|
|Succeeded by||Joel Hefley|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 21st district
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Tom Loeffler|
|Succeeded by||Chip Roy|
|Member of the Bexar County Commission|
from the 3rd district
January 1983 – January 1985
|Preceded by||Jeff Wentworth|
|Succeeded by||Walter Bielstein|
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives|
from the 57th district
December 15, 1981 – November 15, 1982
|Preceded by||James Nowlin|
|Succeeded by||Chock Word|
Lamar Seeligson Smith
November 19, 1947
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jane Shoults (died 1991)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
Southern Methodist University (JD)
Lamar Seeligson Smith (born November 19, 1947) is an American politician and lobbyist who served in the United States House of Representatives for Texas's 21st congressional district for 16 terms, a district including most of the wealthier sections of San Antonio and Austin, as well as some of the Texas Hill Country. He is a member of the Republican Party. He sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act (PCIP). He also co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
As the head of the House Science Committee, Smith has been criticized for his position on climate change and for receiving funding from oil and gas companies. He was formerly a contributor to Breitbart News.
Early life, education, and legal career
Smith attended a private high school, then called Texas Military Institute, now known as TMI — The Episcopal School of Texas, and graduated in 1965. He then earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University (1969) and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University (1975).
In 1969, Smith was hired as a management intern by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. He was a business and financial writer for the Christian Science Monitor (1970–1972), was admitted to the Texas bar in 1975, and went into private practice in San Antonio with the firm of Maebius and Duncan, Inc.
In 1978, he was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Bexar County. In 1980, Smith was elected to the Texas House of Representatives representing Bexar County, the 57th District. He served on the Energy Resources Committee and the Fire Ants Select Committee. In 1982, he was elected to the 3rd Precinct of the Bexar County Commissioners Court and served from 1983 to 1986.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1986, four-term incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Loeffler of Texas' 21st congressional district decided to retire to run for governor of Texas. Smith led a crowded six-way primary with 31% of the vote and then defeated Van Archer in the run-off election 54%–46%. He won the general election with 61% of the vote.
During this time period, he never won re-election with less than 72% of the vote.
Smith's district was significantly altered in the 2003 Texas redistricting. While he lost most of the Hill Country to the 23rd District, he picked up a significant portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas, a traditional bastion of liberalism. Smith won re-election with 62% of the vote, Smith's lowest winning percentage since his initial run in 1986.
In 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States threw out the 23rd District in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry on the grounds that it violated the rights of Latino voters. The 23rd is the largest district in the nation (not counting the at-large districts), stretching across 800 road miles from El Paso to San Antonio. Due to its size, nearly every district in the El Paso-San Antonio corridor had to be redrawn. Smith regained most of the Hill Country, but kept a large portion of his share of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas.
In November 2006 the Texas Legislative Council  found that nearly two-thirds of voters in District 21 cast ballots for statewide Republican candidates in 2004. In the November 2006 open election, Smith faced six candidates. He defeated Democrats John Courage and Gene Kelly 60%–24%–9%. This was Smith's lowest winning percentage of his career.
He faced two candidates, Democratic nominee Lainey Melnick and Libertarian nominee James Arthur Strohm, and won with 69% of the vote.
Smith faced five challengers in the 2012 general election on November 6, 2012: Candace Duval (Dem), John-Henry Liberty (Lib), Fidel Castillo (Grn), Bill Stout (Grn), and Carlos Pena (Ind). He won the race with 63% of the vote.
Smith won re-nomination to fifteenth House term in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014. He received 40,262 votes (60.4 percent). His runner-up was Matt McCall (born c. 1963) of San Antonio, with 22,596 votes (33.9 percent). Michael J. Smith polled the remaining 3,772 votes (5.7 percent).
Smith won re-nomination to a sixteenth term in the House in the Republican primary held on March 1. He received 69,872 votes (60.1 percent). Running against him once more was Matt McCall, who drew 33,597 votes (28.9 percent). McCall polled 11,000 more votes than he did in 2014, but his percent went down because of higher turnout. Two other candidates held the remaining 11 percent of the ballots cast.
Smith faced the Democrat Tom Wakely (born c. 1953) of San Antonio in the November 8 general election. Smith (Republican) won with 57.0%; Tom Wakely (Democratic) got 36.5%; Mark Loewe (Libertarian) got 4.1%; and Antonio Diaz (Green) got 2.4%.
Smith has consistently supported restrictions on abortion. In 2009, Smith voted to prohibit federally funded abortions. In 2006, Smith voted for the Abortion Pain Bill, which would "ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child", and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would "prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions". In 2008, the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion-rights advocacy group, gave Representative Smith a rating of 100 on a point system in which points were assigned for actions in support of legislation they described as pro-life.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
On April 23, 2006 CNET reported that Smith was introducing a bill that "would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers". The move sparked a negative response among technology enthusiasts in opposition to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Smith is a strong opponent of marijuana legalization; as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Lamar blocked committee consideration of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, a bill to repeal the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow the states to set laws on cultivation, sales, use, and taxation. Smith stated that "marijuana use and distribution ... has a high potential for abuse" and that "decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border."
In 2011 Smith had received $37,250 in campaign contributions from the Beer, Wine and Liquor Lobby, and $65,800 total between 2009 and 2011. He received more than $133,000 from the Content Industry, including Industry groups and individual companies through mid-2011. Another $60,000 was donated by these companies in the 2012 Election Cycle. Maplight.org listed the Beer, Wine, and Liquor Lobby as third among Smith's top ten campaign contributors, and Content Industry as #1.
Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
In 2011 Smith co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, a bill that made significant changes to the U.S. patent system. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. The law will switch U.S. rights to a patent from the present first-to-invent system to a first inventor-to-file system for patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013.
Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act
On November 20, 2013, Smith introduced the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act (H.R. 3547; 113th Congress), a bill that would extend until December 31, 2014, the current limitation on liability of commercial space launch companies. Under the current system, the space launch company is liable for any damages up to $500 million, after which the U.S. Government will pay the damages in the range of $500 million to $2.7 billion. Above $2.7 billion, the company is again responsible.
STEM Education Act of 2014
On July 8, 2014, Smith introduced the STEM Education Act of 2014 (H.R. 5031; 113th Congress), a bill that would add computer science to the definition of STEM fields used by the United States federal government in determining grants and education funding. Smith said that "we have to capture and hold the desire of our nation's youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. A health and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects including computer science, is critical to American industries. We must work to ensure that students continue to go into these fields so that their ideas can lead to a more innovative and prosperous America."
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
On October 26, 2011, Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261), also known as SOPA. The bill sought to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. SOPA faced significant opposition from internet freedom advocacy groups and web companies, and on January 15, 2012, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor cancelled a planned vote on the bill.
Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers (PCIP) Act
On May 25, 2011, Smith introduced the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, which sought to change sentencing rules and mandated that ISPs keep logs of customer data (such as name, IP addresses, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers) for at least a year. Representative Zoe Lofgren, (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) criticized PCIP. Lofgren said a better name would be "Keep Every Americans' Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act". Conyers said the bill would allow use of the information for purposes entirely unrelated to fighting child pornography.
Smith has unequivocally stated that he believes the climate is changing, and that humans play a role in climate change. However, he questions the extent of the impact, and accuses scientists of promoting a personal agenda unsupported by evidence. Smith has made a number of false and misleading claims about climate change.
As of 2015, Smith has received more than $600,000 from the fossil fuel industry during his career in Congress. In 2014, Smith got more money from fossil fuels than he did from any other industry. Smith publicly denies global warming. Under his leadership, the House Science committee has held hearings that feature the views of climate change deniers, subpoenaed the records and communications of scientists who published papers that Smith disapproved of, and attempted to cut NASA's earth sciences budget. He has been criticized for conducting "witch hunts" against climate scientists. In his capacity as chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith issued more subpoenas in his first three years than the committee had for its entire 54-year history. In a June 2016 response letter to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Mr. Smith cited the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s as valid legal precedent for his investigation.
On December 1, 2016, as chair on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he tweeted out on behalf of that committee a Breitbart article denying climate change.
World Health Organization
In February 2018, Smith criticized the World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer research program for its finding that glyphosate, the active component in the herbicide Roundup, is probably carcinogen.
Travel ban executive order
Smith supported President Donald Trump's 2017 Executive Order 13769 to ban citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, saying "I appreciate President Trump's effort to protect innocent Americans from those who might commit terrorist acts. We ought to take every reasonable step possible to protect the American people. Those from terrorist sponsoring countries should not be admitted until they can be properly vetted by our national security agencies."
Smith served as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology for the 113th Congress, having replaced Ralph Hall. Smith has previously served on the Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary (Chairman), the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and the Tea Party Caucus.
On January 30, 2015, Law360 reported that Smith has sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and to the chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, asking for an explanation of media claims of HealthCare.gov sharing private data supplied by subscribers with third-parties such as Google, Twitter, and YouTube.
In 1992, he married Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, as was his first wife, Jane Shoults, before her death in 1991. They have two children, Nell Seeligson (born 1976) and Tobin Wells (born 1979), from his previous marriage.
- Jackson, Leahy, Smith and Ryan named policymakers of the year, Politico, Published 2011-11-29, Accessed 2012-02-01.
- Subpoenas: Rep. Lamar Smith's Favorite Climate Change Denial Tool, Houston Press
- GOP Congressman Subpoenas Those Investigating Big Oil’s Climate Cover-Up, Huffington Post
- Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference, Science Mag
- Lamar Smith claims climate scientists not following scientific method, Ars Technica
- The House Science Committee's Anti-Science Rampage, New Yorker
- Meet the House science chairman who’s trying to put global warming research on ice, Washington Post
- Chair of House Science Committee Says the Journal ‘Science’ Is Not Objective, Snopes
- Livingston, Abby (November 2, 2017). "Lamar Smith retiring from Congress". The Texas Tribune. Austin, Texas. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- "LD-2 Disclosure Form". Retrieved 16 June 2021.
- US Rep Lamar Smith in 1965 at TMI. myalamoheights.com. Retrieved on 2016-01-3.
- Even Presidential Science Advisers Can Give Boring Lectures. sciencemag.org. Retrieved on 2016-01-3.
- "SMITH, Lamar Seeligson, (1947 - )". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
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- Legislative Reference Library | Legislators and Leaders | Member profile. Lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved on 2012-01-09.
- Politics In America 2002. CQ. 2002. p. 996. ISBN 9781568026565. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
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- Gary Martin, "Courage, other veterans speak out against Bush", San Antonio Express-News, February 8, 2006. Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
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- "Republican primary returns". Texas Secretary of State. March 1, 2016. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on H Amdt 509 – Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on HR 6099 – Abortion Pain Bill". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Project Vote Smart – Representative Smith on S 403 – Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Project Vote Smart – Representative Lamar S. Smith – Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Declan McCullagh, "Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill", CNET, April 24, 2006.
- Tony Pierce, "Marijuana bill officially introduced to Congress by Ron Paul, Barney Frank", Los Angeles Times June 23, 2011.
- Lamar Smith: Campaign Finance/Money – Summary – Representative 2012. OpenSecrets. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
-  Opensecrets.org, Retrieved on 2012-22-02.
- Lamar Smith (R-TX) U.S. House | MAPLight.org – Money and Politics Archived 2011-11-25 at the Wayback Machine. MAPLight.org. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
- "President Obama Signs America Invents Act, Overhauling the Patent System to Stimulate Economic Growth, and Announces New Steps to Help Entrepreneurs Create Jobs | The White House". whitehouse.gov. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2014-08-10 – via National Archives.
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- "Serial No. 115-10: Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session, March 29, 2017". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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- Warrick, Joby (23 October 2015). "Congressional skeptic on global warming demands records from U.S. climate scientists". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Smith, Lamar (8 September 2015). "Climate change: Seven indisputable facts". The Hill. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Gillman, Todd J. (11 January 2013). "House Science Chairman Lamar Smith puts climate change assessment on agenda". Trail Blazer's Blog. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
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- Barenblatt v. United States
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- "GOP lawmakers take aim at WHO agency over Roundup ingredient". Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
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- "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
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- "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
- "Lamar Smith – Candidate for U.S. President, Republican Nomination – Election 2012". Election 2012. Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
- Roper, Peter (January 6, 1991). "Family's privacy protected: Smith silent on wife's death". Del Rio News Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Official Congressional Directory. (1991). United States: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26.
- "Election Results". Federal Election Commission.
- "1992 – Current ELECTION HISTORY". Secretary of State of Texas. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014.
- In 2006, three other candidates received another 3% of the vote.
- Lamar Smith at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress