Press Room

Press Releases

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


Comment On The Joint Strategic Plan On Intellectual Property Enforcement

"I applaud Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, for her work on the first Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. The plan highlights the importance of effective and efficient enforcement of American intellectual property rights, which in turn protects American jobs and promotes economic growth. I look forward to discussing the plan with Ms. Espinel at the Judiciary Committee's oversight hearing tomorrow." Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was a lead… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sessions Introduce Bill To Prevent Foreign Defamation Judgments

The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee today introduced legislation to shield American authors, journalists and publishers from foreign libel lawsuits that would otherwise curb writers' First Amendment rights. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) introduced the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act Tuesday morning. The SPEECH Act will protect authors, journalists, and publishers from foreign … Continue Reading


Statement On The Nomination Of Elena Kagan To The Supreme Court

As I announced last month, the confirmation hearing on the President's nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court will begin next Monday. On Monday, I will give each Senator who is a member of the Committee an opportunity to deliver an opening statement. After the nominee is presented to the Committee, she will proceed with her opening statement. On Tuesday morning we will ask questions of the nominee. I hope that we will conclude the hearing by the end of the … Continue Reading


Comment On Supreme Court Decision In Rent-A-Center v. Jackson

The Supreme Court today issued a ruling in Rent-A-Center v. Jackson that upholds the power of arbitration agreements to remove even threshold questions of validity from review by a court. In a 5-4 decision, the majority reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that courts do not retain the authority to hear claims that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable if the agreement delegates that determination to the arbitrator. Today, five members of the Supreme Court struck a blow to our nation's civ… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Monsanto v. Geerston Seed Farms

The Supreme Court today issued a decision in Monsanto v. Geerston Seed Farms. In its first ruling on genetically modified crops, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision upholding a district court injunction and removed a temporary ban on planting a breed of pesticide-resistant alfalfa. The genetically modified crop was approved for use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after it determined that a formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not necessary. The district cou… Continue Reading


Kagan Hearing To Begin At 12:30 P.M. Monday, June 28

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday announced that the confirmation hearing for the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 28. The hearing will be held in room 216 Hart Senate Office Building. The hearings will webcast live online. Members of the press must reserve seating through the press galleries. Media guidelines are available online. Information for how membe… Continue Reading


Comment On Department Of Defense Documents Related To Military Recruitment At Harvard University And Harvard Law School From 1997-2009

"The materials produced by the Department of Defense provide further documentation that military recruiters were never barred from the campus of Harvard Law School, neither before Elena Kagan became Dean, nor during her tenure. These documents verify that after a federal circuit court had ruled the Solomon Amendment unenforceable, then-Dean Kagan responsibly implemented the same alternative means of access for military recruitment that had been used successfully for years under her predecessor,… Continue Reading


Comment On Completion Of Document Production By The National Archives, Related To Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Nomination To The U.S. Supreme Court

"The National Archives and the Clinton Library have produced an unprecedented volume of materials related to Elena Kagan's nomination, in response to the Committee's bipartisan request. They have completed the production of documents as outlined in the Archives letter of May 21, and done so well in advance of the Committee's hearing. In fact, they have produced more materials, and faster, than were produced in connection with previous Supreme Court nominations. "The Committee and the public al… Continue Reading


USDA Proposes Rules To Increase Competition And Promote Fairness For Producers In The Livestock And Poultry Industries

[(FRIDAY, June 18) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Friday released draft rules intended to increase competition and fairness in the livestock and poultry industries. The rules were mandated in the 2008 Farm Bill, which Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) helped negotiate as the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The proposed standards would further define practices that are unfair, unjustly discrim… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board

[The Supreme Court issued a decision today in New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board. In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed the Seventh Circuit and held the National Labor Relations Board (the Board), the leading federal agency that referees disputes between labor and management, may not make decisions without at least three members of its five-member board. The Board has operated with only two Senate confirmed members for the last two years; three nominations are awaiting confirma… Continue Reading


Comment On Senate Passage Of Amendment To Extend Closing Window For Homebuyers Tax Credit

[During debate on a bill to extend several tax deductions and other provisions, the U.S. Senate Wednesday voted 60-39 to extend until October 1 the time allowed for closing on a home in order to qualify for the popular homebuyers tax credit. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has strongly supported the amendment, which will give homebuyers who have home purchases under contract the added time to overcome delays in the closing process that have occurred through no fault of their own. Such obstacles hav… Continue Reading


UNESCO Award in Name of Equatorial Guinea President Causes Uproar

Back in September 2008, the European Union, joined by the United States and Norway, objected when the executive board of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreed to set up a life sciences award in the name of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, to be endowed for five years by a fine $3 million gift from Obiang. The initiative seemed to stall for a while, especially after some reform candidates won top spots on the 57-nation board. But then in… Continue Reading


Department Of Justice Inspector General To Fulfill Many Reporting Requirements In Leahy-Authored Patriot Reauthorization

Responding to a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine has agreed to conduct a review that fulfills many of the reporting requirements called for in the pending USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act. Last year, Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. A bipartisan majority of the Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in October, but the legislation was stalled o… Continue Reading


Three District Court Nominations Confirmed

The Senate Tuesday confirmed three pending federal district court nominations. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to advance the nominations to the full Senate in March. Each was confirmed unanimously by the Senate Tuesday. Tanya Pratt was confirmed to fill a vacancy on the federal district court in the Southern District of Indiana. Brian Jackson was confirmed to fill a vacancy for the Middle District of Louisiana. And Elizabeth Foote was confirmed to fill a vacancy for the We… Continue Reading


Correcting The Record On Elena Kagan And The Solomon Amendment

In remarks on the Senate Floor Wednesday morning, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) addressed distortions of Elena Kagan's record in enforcing Harvard Law School's antidiscrimination policy while she was serving as Dean. Leahy said, "Let us be clear about the facts. At no time did Dean Kagan ban the military from Harvard's campus. That is a plain fact that has been verified repeatedly by Harvard's veteran association and others. Military recruiting occurred on the c… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing For Deputy Attorney General Nominee James Cole

(Tuesday, June 15, 2010) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning is holding a hearing on the nomination of James Cole to be the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. Cole was nominated by President Obama on May 24 to fill the number two position at the Justice Department. Member statements, witness testimony and a live webcast are available online. The bipartisan Committee questionnaire completed by the nominee and letters of support are also available online. Committee Ch… Continue Reading


Reaction To The State’s Decision To Let Vermonters In The State’s VPharm Program Keep Their Medicare Prescription Drug Rebate Checks

"This direct help with the high cost of prescription drugs is the first of many tangible benefits that Vermonters will see under the new health insurance reform law. "This is a fair and practical outcome, and I commend Governor Douglas and our legislative leaders for reconsidering the rebate issue. I will continue to work closely with them on our efforts to improve and widen access to health care in Vermont." # # # # #… Continue Reading


Comment On Supreme Court Decision In Dolan v. United States

"This morning, the Supreme Court upheld the clear purpose of the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. When Congress passed that important law, it did so to protect the victims of crimes like the serious assault that Brian Dolan committed. In his case, the district court failed to determine the precise amount of restitution owed by the 90-day deadline, but made it clear that he owed restitution under the statute. I am heartened that the judges and justices interpreting that law did so in a way t… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Denial Of Certiorari In Arar v. Ashcroft

"The United States' secret rendition of Maher Arar to Syria, where he was tortured for nearly a year, remains a stain on this nation's legacy as a human rights leader around the world. We know that Mr. Arar was detained by American authorities, who deported him not to his country of residence, Canada, where he would have been questioned and investigated, but to Syria, a country known for torturing detainees. The Canadian government has publicly cleared Mr. Arar of any links to terrorism, yet t… Continue Reading


West Rutland Project Wins $4.5 Million Energy Grant

, June 11 - NeighborWorks of Western Vermont won a $4.5 million grant for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, the Vermont congressional delegation announced today. The Rutland County nonprofit housing lender was awarded the grant - one of only 20 nationwide - for its proposal to save energy and create jobs retrofitting homes and municipal buildings. The award comes through a nationwide energy efficiency block grant program created in legislation authored by Sen. Bernie … Continue Reading

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