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Press Releases

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

06.23.09

Statement On The Nomination Of Judge Sonia Sotomayor To The Supreme Court

I thank Senator Menendez and Senator Schumer for their outstanding statements to the Senate today. As I review Judge Sotomayor's record in preparation for her confirmation hearing on July 13, I am struck by her extraordinary career and how she has excelled at everything she has done. I know how proud her mother Celina is of her accomplishments. I was delighted to hear Laura Bush, the former First Lady, say recently that she, too, is "proud" that President Obama nominated a woman to ser… Continue Reading


06.22.09

Reaction To The Supreme Court’s Decision On Section 5 Of The Voting Rights Act

I am relieved that today the Supreme Court did not overturn the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Doing so would have been pure and simple judicial activism. A nearly unanimous Supreme Court wisely did not take such a drastic step. However I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court that Congress' reauthorization of Section 5 poses serious constitutional concerns. There is no more explicit constitutional grant of power to the Congress than in the second section of the 15th Amendment t… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Leahy Steers Vermont U.S. Attorney Nominee Through Judiciary Committee, On Track To Become One Of The First Headed For Senate Confirmation

Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday won the panel's approval of the nomination of Hinesburg attorney Tristram J. Coffin to be Vermont's next U.S. Attorney. Leahy has kept Vermont's candidate on a fast legislative track. Coffin and two others are the first three U.S. Attorney nominees the panel has approved from the new administration. President Obama, who had accepted Leahy's recommendation to nominate Coffin, sent the nomination to the Senate … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Decision On Post-Conviction DNA Testing

"I am disappointed that this narrow Supreme Court ruling denied access to post-conviction DNA testing for a defendant who wanted to prove his innocence. We should make every effort to promote DNA testing in our criminal justice system -- whether before or after trial -- in order to help ensure that only the guilty are convicted, never the innocent, and that the guilty do not walk free to commit more crimes. This decision only creates new procedural roadblocks and unnecessary hurdles to … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Leahy, Sessions Press PRLDEF For Sotomayor-Requested Documents

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) today sent a letter to LatinoJustice PRLDEF (Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), asking that the organization expedite Judge Sonia Sotomayor's request for documents related to her membership in the organization. Sotomayor has been nominated to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In response to the Judiciary Committee's bipartisan questionnaire, Sotomayor stated t… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Designation Of David J. Kappos To Be Undersecretary Of Commerce For Intellectual Property And Director Of The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office

"I am pleased that the President has announced his intent nominate David J. Kappos to be the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "His experience both as a development engineer and as a leading intellectual property attorney make Mr. Kappos exceptionally qualified to lead the Patent and Trademark Office. While serving as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at IBM, Mr. Kappos has managed IBM's vast p… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Passage Of The OPEN FOIA Act

The Senate Wednesday night adopted the OPEN FOIA Act as part of S.1285. The OPEN FOIA Act is co-authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "I commend the Senate for unanimously passing the OPEN FOIA Act - a commonsense bill to promote more openness regarding statutory exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). For more than four decades, FOIA has served as perhaps the most important Federal law to protect the public's right to know. The OPEN FOIA Act will help … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Attorney General Holder To Testify At Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Hate Crimes Legislation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), responding to requests from Committee Republicans, has scheduled a hearing on pending legislation to make needed changes to the federal hate crime law. Attorney General Eric Holder will testify at the hearing on June 25. The bipartisan Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act was introduced on April 28 by former Committee Chairman Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). More than 40 Senators are cosponsors of this legislation. The … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Ruling In Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc.

"In the Supreme Court's decision today, five justices acted to disregard precedent and ignore the plain reading and common understanding of the statute that Congress passed to protect Americans from discrimination based on their age. It is even more troubling that these five justices decided to go further than the question presented to the Court. This overreaching by a narrow majority of the Court will have a detrimental effect on all Americans and their families. In these … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Congress Clears Leahy-Led Boost For Next Generation Of Armored Vehicles Engineered For The Tough Terrain Of Afghanistan

The U.S. Senate late Thursday passed and now will send to the President a funding bill that reflects a push by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to boost development of tougher and more agile armored vehicles and other equipment needed by U.S. troops in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. The Senate approved the final Fiscal Year 2009 supplemental appropriations bill in a vote of 91 to 5. As chairman of the Senate's 96-member National Guard Caucus, Leahy worked with caucus co-chair Senator Kit Bond… Continue Reading


06.17.09

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Presidential Memorandum On Federal Benefits And Non-Discrimination

I am pleased that today President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination that will extend a number of benefits to same-sex partners that are afforded to spouses of Federal employees. I applaud the President for this effort to promote fairness in the workplace. It is a step in the right direction towards equalizing benefit coverage for all Federal employees. The memorandum will enable domestic partners of civil service Federal e… Continue Reading


06.17.09

Statement At Hearing On “Department of Justice Oversight”

I welcome Attorney General Holder back to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as we continue our oversight of the Justice Department. I commend the Attorney General and his team for their hard work and commitment to the difficult task of once again making the Department of Justice an agency worthy of its name. In the last administration, political manipulation of the Department of Justice, and particularly its crucial law enforcement and civil rights functions, struck a dev… Continue Reading


06.16.09

Leahy Joins Effort To Fix REAL ID Law

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is again part of an effort to fix problems in the REAL ID Act of 2005 that have led many states to balk at participating in what critics say is a thinly disguised national ID program built around a national database that would be vulnerable to identity theft. Leahy is a leading cosponsor of a new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate on June 15 by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) is the chief Republican cosponsor. The ne… Continue Reading


06.16.09

Leahy Announces $6.5 Million In New First-Responder Grants To Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced $6.52 million in new first-responder grants to Vermont. Leahy in 2001 authored the charter for the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), which supports state and local law enforcement efforts to prevent, identify and respond to homeland security threats. Leahy also announced that Vermont will receive more than $125,000 in Citizen Corp Program grants. The grants to local and state first responder units support the implementation of homela… Continue Reading


06.16.09

Remarks On The Supreme Court And The Nomination Of Judge Sonia Sotomayor UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Annual Rauh Lecture

Remarks at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Annual Rauh Lecture - Part 1 Part 1 Remarks at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Annual Rauh Lecture - Part 2 Part 2 On Tuesday morning, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman delivered the Rauh Lecture at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. His remarks, as prepared, follow. It is an honor to have been invited by my friend Wade Henderson, the longtime President of the Leader… Continue Reading


06.16.09

StatementOn THe Death Of Dale R. Long Of The Bennington Rescue Squad

Marcelle and I were deeply saddened by the news of this tragic accident that claimed the life of veteran EMT specialist Dale R. Long. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, to the Bennington Rescue Squad and to the entire Vermont EMT community. As a Vermonter I have always thought that members of our first-responder community represent the best of our state's tradition of service to others. Dale Long was a solid example of that tradition. He was Bennington Rescue Squad's 2008 EMT o… Continue Reading


06.16.09

Statement Of Thanks To Bermuda

Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, last Thursday Bermuda welcomed to freedom four men who had been wrongly detained at Guantanamo Bay for more than 7 years. The men are ethnic Uighurs--a minority group from western China that has long suffered discrimination and oppression by China's Government. Their release is welcome news--our own Federal courts had cleared them for release, as did both the Bush and Obama administrations. Bermudian Prime Minister Dr. Ewart Brown and the Bermudian people have done a … Continue Reading


06.15.09

Burlington Waterfront Improvements Prepare Waterfront For Quad Celebration

BURLINGTON, Vt. - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss and members of Burlington's business community marked the completion of new public restrooms, a visitor center, additional parking for tour buses and traffic flow improvements on Burlington's Waterfront during a Monday morning news conference outside the new visitor center adjacent to the Pease parking lot. The $2.7 million in federal grants used to fund construction were secured by Leahy in the 2005 federal tran… Continue Reading


06.11.09

Fight Drug Crimes And Ensure Justice, Accountability

The need for international cooperation to crack down on drug cartels is beyond question. Just a few weeks ago, gunmen killed Mexico Chief of Police Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez in his home. In a single week, more than 100 people, including about 20 police officers, were killed in drug-related violence. Some of those suspected of having a hand in these crimes are police officers themselves, moonlighting for the cartels. On May 22, the U.S. Senate approved $450 million for the f… Continue Reading


06.11.09

Statement On the Passage of S. 982 The “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act”

I am pleased the Senate is moving once again to pass legislation to regulate tobacco products in the United States. Senator Kennedy's lifetime efforts to improve the public's health are exemplified in his fight to pass the "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act." Despite many setbacks, Senator Kennedy has worked tirelessly to pass this legislation and I am proud to join him again as a cosponsor of this bill. This legislation is long overdue and I look forward to… Continue Reading

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