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


Protecting Afghan Civilians

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, as we take stock of the changes made last week by President Obama to the military command in Afghanistan, there is a related issue that has been discussed in the press that is of particular concern to me. I believe the President's decision to replace General McChrystal was the right decision. The published comments of the general and his aides were unquestionably insubordinate. They portrayed extraordinarily poor judgment and disrespect, and a deterioration of… Continue Reading


Statement On Confirmation Of Gary Scott Feinerman to Federal Court

Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, today the Senate is proceeding on only one of the 23 judicial nominees stalled by Republican obstruction from action by the Senate. The nominee the Senate will confirm tonight has been stalled for more than 10 weeks, even though his nomination was reported without a single objection from the Judiciary Committee on April 15. There are eight other judicial nominees who have been stalled for at least as long, or longer, and nominees who were favorably reported las… Continue Reading


Remarks on the Passing of Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia

Tribute to Senator Robert C. Byrd Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I appreciate the words of the Senator from North Dakota. I recall sitting here on the floor, I tell my friend from North Dakota, who may well have been here at that time when Senator Byrd spoke of the pygmies strutting like a colossus. We both know who he meant and we both know the effect it had, and I thank him for reminding us of that. I believe all of us who served with him and knew Senator Byrd were saddened by the news… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Bilski v. Kappos

The Supreme Court today issued a decision in Bilski v. Kappos, affirming a Federal Circuit decision and holding a process for hedging on energy commodities unpatentable as an abstract idea. "In Bilski v. Kappos, the Court unanimously affirmed the judgment of the Federal Circuit that the application for a patent on a business method should be rejected. The Court's opinion, joined by only five of the Justices, however, needlessly left the door open for business method patents to issue in the fu… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court Decision In Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

[The Supreme Court today issued a ruling in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court found unconstitutional a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the anti-fraud law Congress enacted in the aftermath of the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals. Overturning decisions by the D.C. District Court and the D.C. Circuit Court, the Supreme Court held that the composition of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board violated Separation of Po… Continue Reading


Opening Statement At The Confirmation Hearing On The Nomination Of Solicitor General Elena Kagan To Be An Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States

C-SPAN 3: Leahy Opens Supreme Court Hearings Today We meet today to consider President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States. Just last year, this Committee and the Senate reviewed her record, and a bipartisan majority voted to confirm her to be the Solicitor General, the top lawyer representing the United States before the Supreme Court. With her confirmation, Solicitor General Kagan became the first woman in America's hist… Continue Reading


On The Supreme Court’s Decision In McDonald v. City of Chicago

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, a 5-4 majority of the Court overturned the Seventh Circuit and held that a Chicago gun control law violated the Second Amendment's guarantee of the right to bear arms. Building on a 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which placed limits on what the federal government may do to regulate guns, the Court held that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right that limits state and local law, as well as federal law. "In its decision today in McDonald v… Continue Reading


Comments On The Passing Of Senator Robert Byrd

We are all saddened by the news of Senator Byrd's passing. No Senator came to care more about the Constitution or to be a more effective defender of our constitutional government than the senior Senator from West Virginia. He was a senator's senator. Others will speak of his records for time served in the Senate and in Congress and for the number of votes he cast. I know him as a mentor and a friend. I was honored to stand with him and fight against assaults on the Constitution and against… Continue Reading


DHS Lays Out Steps To Assess Port Closure Decision

TO THE RIGHT is a letter Senator Patrick Leahy has received from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, laying out the steps ahead in assessing the DHS decision to close the Morses Line Point Of Entry. The process includes consultation with the community and a public comment period. Leahy said the process will be "an opportunity for the community to come together and work with DHS" to identify a workable solution. He has asked DHS to listen to and carefully consider the community's wishes and sugges… Continue Reading


Leahy Authored Anti-Fraud Amendment Included In Wall Street Reform Conference

A conference committee of the Senate and House of Representatives has included an amendment authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to increase the tools available to law enforcement to root out and prosecute financial and securities fraud in the final legislative package that will bring the first major reforms to Wall Street in years. The amendment will also strengthen protections for whistleblowers who help expose financial fraud. Leahy was a member of the Conference Committee. "In recent… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter - June 24, 2010

Wall Street Reform Bill Nears The Finish Line - Negotiations Are Continuing Into The Night Today is the last scheduled day of the House-Senate conference on the Wall Street reform bill. As one of the 12 Senate conferees, Senator Leahy used Vermont's seat at the table to increase transparency, tougher criminal penalties for Wall Street fraud, and curb abuses such as unfettered derivatives. Cleaning up Wall Street abuses will help build confidence in the economy and continue the progress toward… Continue Reading


Leahy Responds To Republican Requests For More Kagan Documents From Archives

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) responded to a letter sent earlier this week by Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), requesting further documents from the Clinton Library in connection with the nomination of the Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The National Archives and Clinton Library have produced 170,000 pages of documents related to Elena Kagan's work in the Clinton administration. Only a small number of docum… Continue Reading


Comment On The Grand Opening Of The Upper Valley Haven’s Adult Shelter

[In February, Sen. Patrick Leahy toured the White River Junction construction site of the Upper Valley Haven's new shelter for homeless adults and announced a $200,000 federal appropriation for the facility. The Upper Valley Haven celebrated the grand opening of the facility on Thursday evening. Leahy was in Washington Thursday afternoon, where he is working on finalizing the Wall Street Reform bill as a member of the conference committee negotiating the final bill, and preparing for next wee… Continue Reading


Leahy Joins Letter Urging Transocean To Delay $1 Billion In Dividends Before Paying Its Bill For Gulf Oil Spill

Determined not to leave taxpayers, Gulf Coast businesses, communities and wildlife paying the bill for the devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and uncontrolled release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) many of his colleagues in a letter, spearheaded by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to Steven Newman, Chief Executive Officer of Transocean, Ltd., asking the company to postpone a planned dividend distribution until Transocean's liability in the nation's wo… Continue Reading


Senators Kerry, Brown To Introduce Elena Kagan At Confirmation Hearing

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that Massachusetts Senators John Kerry (D) and Scott Brown (R) will introduce Solicitor General Elena Kagan at the confirmation hearing to consider her nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. The hearing will begin Monday, June 28. In the coming days, Committee is expected to announce a list of additional witnesses who will appear before the Committee following Solicitor General Kagan's testimony next we… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Skilling v. United States

[The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday issued a ruling in Skilling v. United States that vacated the conviction of former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling. The Court also issued decisions vacating the convictions of two other fraud and corruption defendants. The Court dramatically limited the honest services fraud statute used to secure his conviction by holding that it only applies to cases involving bribery or kickbacks and not other important types of economic or intangible harm. Judiciary Commi… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Approves Leahy-Authored Bill To Hold Big Oil Accountable For Environmental Crimes

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to hold oil and other companies responsible for environmental crimes accountable. The Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act (ECEA) would strengthen penalties against companies who violate the Clean Water Act while also mandating restitution for victims of environmental crime. Leahy introduced the legislation on June 9. "It has been almost two months since the collapse of British Petroleum's D… Continue Reading


Comment On The President’s Decision To Replace General Stanley McChrystal With General David Petraeus As Top U.S. Commander In Afghanistan

In his role as Commander In Chief, the President must have confidence in the commanders who are implementing U.S. military plans and policy. In allowing conduct of this kind by those serving around him, General McChrystal has lost this vital bond with the President. The President also did the right thing by appointing General Petraeus to replace him. # # # # #… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs Hearing On Oversight Of The IP Enforcement Coordinator

The Senate Judiciary Committee today holds the first oversight hearing with the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was a lead author of the 2008 Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act, which established the office of the IPEC in the Executive Office of the President. The Coordinator chairs an inter-agency committee, and was tasked with producing a joint strategic plan to combat piracy and counte… Continue Reading


Led By Leahy And DeFazio, 56 Members Of House And Senate Ask USDA To Keep Rules On Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), joined by 49 other representatives and five other senators, are asking U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to retain the regulated status of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. Their letter comes in response to a USDA Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) finding "no significant impact" from the use of genetically modified versions of the crop. Leahy and DeFazio co-authored legislation to create the national or… Continue Reading

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