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Search Senator Leahy’s press releases, floor statements, and Committee speeches by date or by subject.


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

The last two days, we have spent unnecessary floor time overcoming procedural obstacles so that we can vote to confirm the five judicial nominations before us today. Every single one of the nominees that we will vote on today has bipartisan support and will be confirmed by significant margins. Judge Carolyn McHugh was nominated last May, while all four nominees to the Eastern District of Michigan were nominated last July. All of these nominees could and should have been confirmed before we ad… Continue Reading



Today the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to consider President Obama's nominee to be Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Leon Rodriguez. This office within the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for administering and processing asylum and refugee applications, immigration benefits, and naturalization and visa petitions, including the EB-5 Regional Center Program. This office must have a qualified director at the helm. Since … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Vermont Judicial Nominating Commission’s Completion Of Candidate Screening For Vermont’s Upcoming Federal Judicial Vacancy

[(WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014) -- The U.S. District Court in Vermont is at full strength with two active judges currently serving, but Judge William Sessions' decision to take senior status will soon create a vacancy. The nine-member, nonpartisan Vermont Judicial Nominating Commission consists of three commissioners named by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), three by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and three by the Vermont Bar Association. The merit commission continues a tradition that the late Se… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On CIA Interference with Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Investigation

I commend Chairman Feinstein for speaking so forcefully in defense of the indispensable role that Congress plays under our Constitution in overseeing the executive branch, and in particular the intelligence community. Chairman Feinstein described a troubling pattern of interference and intimidation by the CIA that raises serious questions about possible violations of the Constitution and our criminal laws. This only compounds the grave concerns I have had for years about the underlying conduct… Continue Reading


Ahead Of Sunshine Week, Leahy Chairs Annual SJC Government Transparency Hearing

(Tuesday, March 11, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a longtime advocate of open and transparent government, is chairing an oversight hearing this morning ahead of Sunshine Week to examine FOIA compliance in federal agencies. Leahy is the coauthor of the bipartisan OPEN Government Act, which was enacted in 2007 and ushered in the first major reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a decade. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the heari… Continue Reading


Floor Remarks Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) #Up4Climate Senate Floor

Nearly 30 years ago, I joined a good friend, the late Hub Vogelmann, a Republican congressman, a Democratic governor, and President Reagan's EPA Administrator, on a hike to the summit of Vermont's iconic peak, Camel's Hump. We had a goal in mind: to observe first-hand the effects of acid raid. When we arrived at the summit, we saw the evidence we feared: a scar burned across the peaks of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, visible to the West. Due to human action, weather patterns had ch… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

In the last few weeks, we have wasted precious floor time and energy to overcome filibusters on several judicial nominations. The Majority Leader was forced to file cloture on judicial nominees in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Puerto Rico, and Tennessee. This was the case, even though every single one of those nominations had the support of home state Senators -whether Democrat or Republican. In fact, seven of the eight judges confirmed in the last two weeks after filibusters were defeat… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, on the One-Year Anniversary of the Enactment of the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Act

One year ago today, victims of violence, members of law enforcement and those committed to working against domestic and sexual violence celebrated the signing of the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. It was an enormous accomplishment for a divided Congress, which came together to pass meaningful and historic legislation that protects all victims. Today, we honor those victims and survivors by renewing our commitment… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Witnesses For March 17 U.S. Senate Field Hearing In Rutland On Vermont’s Battle Against Heroin And Opioid Addiction

Senator Patrick Leahy on Friday announced the witnesses who will testify at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's field hearing, in Rutland on March 17, on "Community Solutions To Breaking The Cycle Of Heroin And Opioid Addiction." Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, released this list of witnesses for the rare field hearing: Tristram Coffin, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont; Chief James Baker of the Rutland City Police Department; Dr. Harry Chen, Commissioner of the Vermont Dep… Continue Reading


SJC Continues Its Work To Address The Nation’s Exploding Prison Population

(Thursday, March 6, 2014) -The Senate Judiciary Committee continued its work to pass legislation aimed at reducing the nation's exploding prison population on Thursday by approving a bill that addresses "back-end" sentencing reform for qualifying inmates. Thursday's bipartisan vote to approve the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act comes weeks after the Committee approved a compromise agreement of the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would lower nonviolent drug mandatory sentences. Chairman… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Silencing the Press in Ecuador

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly, as I have several times over the past year, about the government of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, which continues its aggressive clamp down on press freedom. Most recently, political cartoonist Xavier Bonilla was reprimanded for a cartoon he drew, and the newspaper he works for, El Universo, was fined for publishing it. El Universal, one of Ecuador's most respected dailies, has been the target of one of the dozens of harassing lawsuits f… Continue Reading


Leahy Leads Bicameral Coalition of 41 Lawmakers In Support of Proposed Rule to Protect Consumers of Generic Drugs

(WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014) - Senator Patrick Leahy Wednesday led a coalition of 17 senators and 24 members of the House in support of a proposed regulation by the Food and Drug Administration that will improve the labeling on generic drugs and secure equal treatment for consumers who take generics. Leahy has worked closely on this issue since he became involved in the case of Marshfield, Vt., musician Diana Levine, who was forced to undergo amputation of her arm after being injected with a misl… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Reports Of CIA Surveillance Of Senate Staff

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Wednesday responding to news reports that CIA personnel monitored computers used by Senate staff investigating the CIA's interrogation program. Leahy is the lead Democratic coauthor of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act to rein in dragnet surveillance, and he has asked top intelligence officials in public hearings about the surveillance of lawmakers.] "The use of torture was a shameful chapter in our nation's… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Current Developments In Venezuela

Mr. President, we are all painfully aware of the many resource rich countries whose leaders care far more about maintaining their grip on power and enriching themselves than addressing the needs of their people. The departed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych was a good example, and in this hemisphere, Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, and his successor President Nicolas Maduro, stand out. President Chavez, a former army officer who was swept into power in a wave of popular discontent… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Debo P. Adegbile

Today, we will vote to end the filibuster on the nomination of Debo Adegbile to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice. Anyone who personally knows Debo understands that he is a man of the highest character and utmost integrity. The Civil Rights Division was created in 1957 in the wake of the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and is charged with enforcing Federal laws prohibiting discrimination, and upholding the civil and constit… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On The Department Of Homeland Security’s Release Of New Regulations Under The Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Act

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday praised the Department of Homeland Security for taking steps to carry out a provision in the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law last year, requiring that all DHS facilities comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act to prevent sexual assault in their facilities. Additional information about today's announcement can be found online.] "This step by DHS marks important progress t… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces U.S. Senate Field Hearing On Vermont’s Battle Against Heroin And Opioid Addiction, In Rutland On March 17

Senator Patrick Leahy announced Friday that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a rare field hearing in Vermont to augment Vermont's heightened mission, announced by Governor Peter Shumlin, to counter the rise of heroin and opioid addiction in the state. Leahy, the committee's chairman, has titled the hearing, "Community Solutions to Breaking the Cycle of Heroin and Opioid Addiction." The hearing will convene at 1 p.m. on March 17 in the Franklin Conference Center at the Howe Center,… Continue Reading


SJC Approves Six Judicial Nominees To Fill Emergency Vacancies

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved six nominees to fill judicial emergencies in Arizona, including one nominee who is poised to become the first Native American woman to serve on the federal bench. All six nominees, who have the support of their home state Senators, appeared before the Judiciary Committee in January. Diane Humetewa, once confirmed, will become the nation's only currently serving Native American judge and the first Native American woman to serve in the judiciary… Continue Reading


Senate National Guard Caucus Co-Chair Patrick Leahy: ‘When it comes to the National Guard, the budget previewed on Monday appears to be headed in the wrong direction’ –

[Following are the opening remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, at Wednesday's annual Guard Caucus Breakfast, on Capitol Hill. More than 20 senators attended, making it one of the best-attended annual breakfasts in memory. Leahy this week has been highly critical of budget proposals for the National Guard that were previewed Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Leahy's concerns were echoed and underscored by speakers throughout this m… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., President Pro Tempore, Chairman Of The State Department And Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee) On Uganda President Museveni’s Signing Of The Anti-Homosexuality Bill

"I am deeply concerned by the decision of President Museveni of Uganda to sign into law the anti-homosexuality bill. I support Secretary of State Kerry and others in calling for its immediate repeal. Much of U.S. assistance to Uganda is for the people of Uganda, including those in the Ugandan LGBT community whose human rights are being so tragically violated. But we need to closely review all U.S. assistance to Uganda, including through the World Bank and other multilateral organizations. I … Continue Reading

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