Press Room

Press Releases

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


Secretary Napolitano Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee today is holding a Department of Homeland Security oversight hearing with Secretary Janet Napolitano. Under the chairmanship of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee has held periodic oversight hearings with the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over immigration, citizenship and related issues. Member statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast are available online. Leahy's prepared remarks follow. … Continue Reading


Op-ED: Pick a Nominee Who Unites Americans

When President Barack Obama chooses his second Supreme Court nominee, the Senate must determine the kind of justice that nominee would be. The debate about judicial nominees, after all, is really a debate about judicial power and the role federal judges are supposed to play in our system of government.One side in that debate wants judges who will rule the way they want on the issues they care about. The political ends justify the judicial means and the only thing that matters is which sid… Continue Reading


Op-ED: Expand the Field of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

As President Barack Obama prepares to select a nominee to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens, I am pleased that he is continuing his practice of reaching out to both sides of the aisle concerning judicial nominations. I am looking forward to consulting with the president, and with the Senate majority leader, the Senate minority leader and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. This is an important step in the process of confirming the next Supreme Court justice. Last year's nomination of Justice Soni… Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Comments On Dispute Over Proposed Plan For Morses Line Border Station

"The ongoing dispute between hardworking family farmers and federal officials over the proposed Morses Line Port of Entry is emblematic of a process gone wrong. As part of a larger effort to update and improve border security, the federal government originally proposed spending $15 million on a new 10-acre border crossing station in an area with far lower traffic levels than most crossings. After months of discussions, that plan has been reduced to $5 million with a smaller footprint. "Under… Continue Reading


Delegation Asks VA Secretary to Help Disabled Veterans

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Vermont congressional delegation today asked the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide overdue documentation needed by about 2,200 disabled veterans to qualify for property tax abatements. "Any further delay in this process during the current year will result in hundreds of eligible veterans paying significantly more in property taxes than they owe," Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) wrote to Veterans A… Continue Reading


Earth Day 2010

Mr. President, today our Nation marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. For four decades, Americans have joined together on April 22 to celebrate our environment and to commit ourselves to fostering a healthier world. What Senator Gaylord Nelson began as a grassroots response to widespread environmental degradation in the 1970s has grown to become the foundation of the modern environmental movement and an annual recognition of Earth Day. For 40 years, Americans have used this day to organize… Continue Reading


Leahy Praises Senate Confirmation Of U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal Nominees

The Senate Thursday afternoon made further progress in clearing a lingering backlog of nominations on the calendar, confirming five U.S. Attorney and five U.S. Marshal nominations, some of which have been pending before the full Senate for more than a month. "The Senate is beginning to make some process in clearing noncontroversial nominations," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "I am grateful that Senate Republicans have released the holds that have prevented the … Continue Reading


Senate Unanimously Confirms Long-Pending Nomination To Second Circuit Court Of Appeals

The Senate Thursday unanimously confirmed the long-pending nomination of Denny Chin to fill a vacancy on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Chin's nomination was unanimously reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee in December. Chin will be the only active Asian Pacific American judge on the federal circuit courts of appeals. He appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November. There remain 23 judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar. The nominations were report… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Judicial Nominee For Third Circuit

The Senate Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to confirm another long-pending nomination to the federal judiciary, Judge Thomas Vanaskie to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Vanaskie's nomination has been pending before the full Senate since December 3, more than four months. The final vote on confirmation was 77-20. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been urging Senate Republicans to lift objections to considering noncontroversial nominations since last year. "I app… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Top Justice Department Nominee

The Senate Wednesday afternoon confirmed Christopher Schroeder to lead the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, more than eight months after his nomination was first reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition. Schroeder's nomination was confirmed by a strong bipartisan vote of 71-25. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been urging the Senate to confirm Schroeder's nomination to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Polic… Continue Reading


With Leahy’s Support, Senate Ag Committee Votes Out Bipartisan Reforms On Risky Derivative Deals

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, in a much-anticipated vote, Wednesday approved The Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, bringing the strongest Wall Street reforms to date a big step closer to reality. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the panel's most senior member, supports the bill - offered by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who chairs the committee -- which is expected to be merged with the financial reform bill sponsored by Senator Christopher D… Continue Reading


Comment Following A Bipartisan Meeting With President Obama About The Supreme Court

President Obama continues his practice of reaching across the aisle to select qualified judicial nominees, and his approach to making nominations to the Supreme Court is no different. I appreciate that he again invited the Republican Senate leader and the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, as well as the Majority Leader and me, to the White House for this consultation meeting. This President has taken seriously the advice and consent role of the United States Senate in appointing judge… Continue Reading


Comment On Administration Views Letter On Patent Reform Amendment

The Department of Commerce yesterday sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Jeff Sessions expressing its support for a compromise amendment released in March, stating that the administration "is eager to see patent reform enacted this congressional session." The letter is available online. "The proposed manager's amendment to the Patent Reform Act is a bipartisan agreement to enact meaningful reforms to our patent system. It has the support of the Obama administration, and as yeste… Continue Reading


Statement On National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

This past Sunday marked the start of National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Since 1981, people across the Nation have observed this week with candlelight vigils and public rallies to renew our commitment to crime victims and their families. It is vitally important that we recognize the needs of crime victims and their family members, and work together to promote victims' rights and services. My involvement with crime victims began more than three decades ago when I served as State's Attorney in… Continue Reading


Comment On U.S. Department Of Commerce Issues Report On Role Of Patent Reform In Supporting Innovation And Job Creation

The Department of Commerce Tuesday issued a report on the role of patent reform in creating jobs and energizing innovation. Leahy is a leading author of the Patent Reform Act, and of a proposed manager's amendment unveiled last month. The full text of the Commerce Department's report is available here. "It should come as no surprise that the report released by the Department of Commerce today concludes that patent reform legislation will accelerate the pace of economic growth and create jobs.… Continue Reading


Statement On The Legacy Of Justice John Paul Stevens

Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement from the Supreme Court will begin to draw to a close an extraordinary judicial career spanning four decades, including 35 years on the Nation's highest court. Justice Stevens and I both came to Washington in the wake of the Watergate scandal. President Ford was impressed by Justice Stevens' anticorruption record, including his prosecution of two Illinois Supreme Court Justices who were charged with accepting bribes. His confirmation to the Supreme Court w… Continue Reading


Statement On Equal Pay Day

Senator Leahy On Equal Pay Day Today is Equal Pay Day: After 16 months of work, professional women today will finally have earned what their male counterparts earned in just 12 months of work last year. It is shameful that gender discrimination still exists in our country, and I hope today will serve as an important reminder that we must redouble our efforts to fully close the wage gap. Forty-six years have passed since the Equal Pay Act was enacted, yet the disparity between women'… Continue Reading


Comment On The Passing Of Dr. Dorothy I. Height

"Marcelle and I join Americans across the nation in mourning the passing of an American heroine and true champion of civil rights and women's rights, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height. As President of the National Council of Negro Women, Dr. Height led the fight for civil rights and equality for women from the homes of hardworking Americans straight to the halls of Congress. During tumultuous times in our nation's history, she was a leading voice and tireless advocate for school desegregation, voting r… Continue Reading


Statement On FY 2011 Budget Request for Operations and Programs of the U.S. Agency for International Development

Dr. Shah, welcome to this subcommittee. We are here to discuss your budget request for fiscal year 2011. I - and I believe I speak for others here - sincerely appreciate that a person of your intellect and enthusiasm has taken on this job. That said, I do not envy you. USAID is an agency in urgent need of reform and it is a formidable task. I think every member of this subcommittee supports USAID's mission in one way or another, but many of us have become increasingly concerned with its per… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Oversight Of Civil Rights Division

(Tuesday, April 20, 2010) - The Senate Judiciary Committee is this morning holding a hearing on oversight of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. The hearing is chaired by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the head of the Civil Rights Division, testified. Member statements, testimony, and a live webcast are available online. The prepared statement of Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) follows. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt… Continue Reading

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