Lamar Smith

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Person.png Lamar Smith   History CommonsRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Lamar S. Smith, official Congressional photo portrait.jpg
BornLamar Seeligson Smith
November 19, 1947
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Alma materYale University, Southern Methodist University
SpouseElizabeth Schaefer
Conservative Republican Congressman

Employment.png Chair of the House Science Committee

In office
January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2019

Employment.png Chair of the House Judiciary Committee

In office
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2013
Preceded byJohn Conyers

Employment.png Chair of the House Ethics Committee

In office
January 3, 1999 - January 3, 2001

Lamar Seeligson Smith is a retired American politician of the Republican Party who served in the United States House of Representatives for Texas for 16 terms. The district included most of the wealthier sections of San Antonio and Austin.

He sponsored the Hollywood-driven Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act (PCIP) that 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. [1]

As the head of the House Science Committee, Smith has been reluctant to fully embrace the dominant climate change narrative and for receiving funding from oil and gas companies.[2][3] 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.[4] He then earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University (1969)[5] and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University (1975).[6]

In 1969, Smith was hired as a management intern by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.[7] He was a business and financial writer for the Christian Science Monitor (1970–1972),[7] was admitted to the Texas bar in 1975, and went into private practice in San Antonio with the firm of Maebius and Duncan, Inc.[7]

House of Representatives

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".[8] 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."[9]


In 2011 Smith had received $37,250 in campaign contributions from the Beer, Wine and Liquor Lobby,[10][clarification needed] 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.[11] listed the Beer, Wine, and Liquor Lobby as third among Smith's top ten campaign contributors, and Content Industry as #1.[12]

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.[1] The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011.[13] 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.[14][15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

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.[20] 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.[20][21]

Climate change

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.[22]

As of 2015, Smith has received more than $600,000 from the fossil fuel industry during his career in Congress.[23] In 2014, Smith got more money from fossil fuels than he did from any other industry.[24]

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.[25]


  1. a b Jackson, Leahy, Smith and Ryan named policymakers of the year, Politico, Published 2011-11-29, Accessed 2012-02-01.
  4. US Rep Lamar Smith in 1965 at TMI.
  5. Even Presidential Science Advisers Can Give Boring Lectures. Retrieved on 2016-01-3.
  7. a b c
  8. Declan McCullagh, "Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill", CNET, April 24, 2006.
  9. Tony Pierce, "Marijuana bill officially introduced to Congress by Ron Paul, Barney Frank", Los Angeles Times June 23, 2011.
  10. Lamar Smith: Campaign Finance/Money – Summary – Representative 2012. OpenSecrets. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  11. [1], Retrieved on 2012-22-02.
  12. Lamar Smith (R-TX) U.S. House | – Money and Politics. Retrieved on 2011-11-16.
  20. a b
  22. 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 |url=