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Press Releases

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

04.03.08

Judicial Nominations

(Thursday, April 3, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday acted on yet another judicial nomination and also briefly set aside extended debate about judicial nominations to approve key legislation to help Americans facing foreclosures in the current mortgage crisis. The panel's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), had pushed for action on the nomination as well as on an ambitious legislative agenda at Thursday's committee voting session, after too few members had materialized for quor… Continue Reading


04.02.08

Repression In Tibet

MR. LEAHY. I want to take a few minutes to speak about the situation in Tibet, which has captured the world's attention in recent days and weeks. For those of us who have visited Tibet, as I did in 1988, and for millions of people here and abroad, the press reports of Chinese police officers arresting and beating Tibetan protesters, and of Tibetans destroying the property of Han Chinese, are deplorable. Estimates of the number of protesters killed have ranged from 13 to 140, and more … Continue Reading


04.02.08

Iraqi Refugees Resettle in Vermont

MR. LEAHY. At a time when we are all concerned with the fate of Iraqi refugees and the need to help as many of them as possible resettle in safe havens, I ask unanimous consent that a March 24, 2008, article in the Brattleboro Reformer entitled "Difficult choices: Son's birth deepens couple's concern over future", be printed in the Record. This article illustrates what Vermonters are doing to help two Iraqi refugees, Revan Hedo and Aseel Pola, who recently gave birth to Brattleboro, Vermont'… Continue Reading


04.02.08

Hearing On Oversight Of The Department Of Homeland Security

(Wednesday, April 2, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Chertoff fielded questions from Senators about backlogs in naturalization applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the REAL ID Act, and immigration detention practices. Secretary Chertoff last testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 28, 2007. Earlier this year, the Committee held hearings on oversight of the Depar… Continue Reading


04.01.08

Judicial Nominations

As I listened yesterday to the partisan rhetoric we continue to hear from Senate Republicans on nominations, I am disappointed that the Republican leader is ignoring the Majority Leader's statement from last May 10. Today is April Fools Day. I do not think the American people are fooled or amused by continued partisan bickering over nominations. Indeed, with a massive subprime mortgage crisis that has left so many Americans in dire straights, fearful of losing their homes, the Republican effort… Continue Reading


04.01.08

Executive Nominations

We are finally in a position to complete our consideration of the nomination of Kevin O'Connor to be Associate Attorney General, the number 3 position at the Department. This nomination was cleared by the Democrats and set to be confirmed before our Easter Recess until it was blocked by a last-minute anonymous Republican hold along with the nomination of Gregory Katsas to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division. I was particularly disappointed with this unexpected dev… Continue Reading


04.01.08

The Declassification Of Memos From The Office Of Legal Counsel

"It has been more than four months since I asked the White House - again - to declassify the secret Justice Department opinions on interrogation practices. Today's declassification of one such memo is a small step forward, but in no way fulfills those requests. The administration continues to shield several memos even from members of Congress. The memo they have declassified today reflects the expansive view of executive power that has been the hallmark of this administration. It is no wonde… Continue Reading


04.01.08

Consideration Of S.980, The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act Of 2007

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today the Senate will pass by unanimous consent S.980, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. This is an important bill that would create potent new tools for law enforcement to prosecute those who illegally sell drugs online, and allow state authorities to shut down online pharmacies even before they get started. I thank Senator Feinstein and Senator Sessions for their commitment to combating illicit drug trafficking by online predators. Through … Continue Reading


03.27.08

The Final DHS Rule On Passport Requirements For Land And Sea Crossings Under The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

[The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Thursday published its final rule on implementation of new passport and documentation rules for land and sea crossings at U.S. borders, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the principal author (with Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska) of a law enacted in December that mandates postponement of passport requirements from January 31, 2008 to June 1, 2009, or until seven conditions in the Leahy-Stevens Amendmen… Continue Reading


03.26.08

Audit Of Department Of Justice Key Indicators

"The Inspector General's findings echo the concerns I and others in Congress have been raising for years. Nearly half of the reporting components at the Department failed to fully and accurately report data on the Department's performance in such key areas as countering terrorism and cyber crime and enforcing civil rights. "The inability of the Justice Department to provide complete information for their own internal audit leads again to concern about the quality of information the Department… Continue Reading


03.25.08

The Release Of The 2008 Housing And Wage Report: “Between A Rock And A Hard Place”

"Finding an affordable place to call home in Vermont has only become more difficult this past year. A national mortgage crisis combined with an increase in oil costs has put even more pressure on Vermonters looking to own a home or find a place to rent. This year's update to 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place' shows that we need to continue focusing on developing truly affordable housing and ensuring that Vermonters are making livable wages."… Continue Reading


03.25.08

Leahy, Specter Call For DOJ Investigation Into Passport Data Breach At State Department

(Tuesday, March 25, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today urged the Attorney General to take immediate action to investigate reported breaches of the passport files of the three presidential candidates at the State Department. Attorney General Michael Mukasey stated last week that the Justice Department would await the outcome of an internal investigation at the State Department before taking action. "We both strongly b… Continue Reading


03.24.08

Hearing On “The Rise Of Drug-Related Violent Crime In Rural America: Finding Solutions To A Growing Problem” Rutland, Vermont

RUTLAND, Vt. (Monday, March 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today held a field hearing to examine the rise in drug-related violent crime in rural communities. The hearing was held in Rutland, Vermont. Rutland has seen a rise in drug-related violent crime in recent years, and has been aggressive in finding, developing and implementing constructive solutions to address those issues. Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) also attended Mond… Continue Reading


03.20.08

Leahy Presses Open Government Agenda As Nation Celebrates Sunshine Week

(Thursday, March 20, 2008) - Two issues at the center of the public's right-to-know agenda in Congress are in the spotlight as the nation observes the fourth annual "Sunshine Week." Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) marked an initial victory against White House efforts to weaken a newly enacted law to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and he continued his push for Senate passage of a federal media shield law. While the Senate last week considered a budge… Continue Reading


03.20.08

Leahy To Bush: Senate Republicans Stalling Executive Nominations

(Thursday, March 20, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday sent President Bush a letter again seeking cooperation in moving forward with judicial and executive nominations. Despite partisan rhetoric from Republicans and the White House, the Senate has made significant progress in considering Bush's judicial nominations and nominations to high-ranking positions in the Department of Justice, since last fall, confirming a new leadership group at the Department,… Continue Reading


03.19.08

Leahy Secures Funds To Jump-Start Quadricentennial Events

(WEDNESDAY, March 19) -- As communities from throughout the Champlain Valley gathered Wednesday at a workshop to continue planning for next year's 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's historic 1609 Lake Champlain voyage, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he has secured nearly $400,000 in National Park Service funding to help jump start the commemoration. Of that total, Leahy has secured $250,000 to be coordinated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program -- some of which will go to supp… Continue Reading


03.19.08

Judiciary Committee Chairman Schedules Homeland Security Oversight Hearing

(Wednesday, March 19, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the next in a series of oversight hearings this year when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff testifies before the Committee on Wednesday, April 2, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today. Chertoff is expected to field questions about backlogs in naturalization applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Iraqi refugee resettlement, and immigration detention practices. Leahy h… Continue Reading


03.14.08

A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA

This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled an interest in seeking more openness … Continue Reading


03.14.08

House Passage Of Legislation To Amend The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

"I commend the House of Representatives for passing its amendment to the Senate's FISA Amendments Act of 2007. It is a step forward, and a good bill. The Senate-passed legislation has a number of serious failings and does not adequately protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. The House bill adds several crucial protections without interfering in any way with this important new surveillance authority. "For the last month, the House has worked with Democratic Senators, and House… Continue Reading


03.14.08

A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA Op-Ed

By Sens. Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled … Continue Reading

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