Press Room

Press Releases

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


Amendment To Strike Immunity

I strongly oppose the blanket grant of retroactive immunity in the Intelligence Committee bill. This administration violated FISA by conducting warrantless surveillance for more than five years. They got caught. If they had not, they would probably still be doing it. In the wake of the public disclosure of the President's illegal surveillance of Americans, the administration and the telephone companies are being sued by citizens who believe their privacy and constitutional rights have been v… Continue Reading


Amendment 3913 On Reverse Targeting

The bill we are now considering will provide an enormous expansion of the government's ability to conduct warrantless surveillance. I support providing our intelligence agencies with the flexibility they need to surveil foreign targets that may be intending us harm, but we must be similarly vigilant in making certain that this surveillance is limited to its intended scope. I want to commend Senator Feingold in crafting an amendment that would prohibit what is known as "reverse targeting" and… Continue Reading


Support Of Amendment 3915, To Limit The Use Of Unlawfully Obtained Information

The authorities and procedures in S.2248 would permit the FISA Court to review government targeting and minimization procedures. If, however, the Court finds certain aspects of those procedures to be inadequate - even grossly inadequate - S. 2248 provides no authority to restrict the use of information already collected using those procedures. That means that the government would be free to access, use, and share information about private communications that was collected in violation of the l… Continue Reading


The Court Of Appeals Decision Striking Down The Bush EPA Rule On Mercury Emissions

[Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long been the Senate's leader on mercury pollution control policy. Leahy also was chief sponsor of the resolution that a Republican-led Senate narrowly defeated two years ago to repeal the Bush Administration's cap-and-trade mercury pollution rule, which the appellate court struck down today. The Sept. 13, 2005, vote on the Leahy resolution was 47 to 51. Vermont was one of many states that had challenged the Bush mercury rule. Leahy's reaction to the ruling … Continue Reading


Leahy: Founding Fathers’ Papers Should Be Put Online

(Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today called for the papers of the Founding Fathers Project to be made available to all Americans through the Internet, at a hearing to examine the program. Established more than 50 years ago to catalogue, annotate and public the writings of some of the country's Founders, the program has been criticized because of slow progress and high costs. The Committee heard from Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCul… Continue Reading


Consideration Of Judicial Nominations

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the administration is returning to their tired partisan playbook of trying to pick a political fight over judicial nominations. What better time than right now, when the economy is slipping farther off the tracks. When the President has just proposed another budget with triple-digit deficits. When al Qaeda is stronger and more virulent than ever, according to General Hayden and Director McConnell, while Osama bin Laden is still at large. When ga… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces $1.2 M. In Grants To Vermont’s NeighborWorks Centers To Sustain Their Affordable Housing Development And Ownership Counseling

As Foreclosure And Affordable Housing Crisis Spreads… . . . Leahy Helped Create 1st NeighborWorks Organization In Vermont In 1993 WASHINGTON (Thursday, Feb. 7) - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that Vermont's five NeighborWorks organizations are getting $1.2 million in NeighborWorks America grants. According to NeighborWorks America, a federally funded nonprofit housing organization, their partnership with the Vermont NeighborWorks organizations will help invest $4… Continue Reading


Leahy, Whitehouse Urge Mukasey To Clarify Testimony About Destruction Of CIA Tapes

(Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who also sits on the panel, sent a letter Thursday urging Attorney General Michael Mukasey to clarify testimony given to the Committee during last week's Department of Justice oversight hearing. In the letter, they ask the Attorney General to explain the scope of the Department's investigation into the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing the use of harsh interrogation te… Continue Reading


Democratic Senators Hold Press Conference Call To Discuss Bush's Nominees

(Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008) Senate Democrats Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Charles Schumer held a press conference call today to discuss their efforts to fulfill the Senate's constitutional role of confirming Presidential nominations. Democrats have cooperated with the White House on the majority of its appointments, but President Bush stubbornly insists on backing a few unacceptable candidates. "If the President truly wants to confirm his nominations, he must abandon his 'my-way-or-the h… Continue Reading


Leahy Schedules Recess Hearing For Circuit Court Nominee

(Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008) - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing during the upcoming Senate recess on the nomination of Catharina Haynes to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Committee has also scheduled a hearing next week for four pending district court nominations. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Leahy helped the Senate confirm 40 of President Bush's judicial nominations last year, including 6 for circuit courts. Mo… Continue Reading


The Patent And Trademark Office’s Letter To The Senate Judiciary Committee On S. 1145, The Patent Reform Act Of 2007

"For years, we have worked in a bipartisan way to bring needed reforms to our Nation's patent system. Last year, after many discussions and meetings, we introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Patent Reform Act of 2007. Throughout the process, the Judiciary Committee has sought to address the concerns of Members of the Senate, the administration and stakeholders from all parts of the patent world. As a result, the Committee passed legislation in July, and we are preparing for its consideration i… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3979, the Feingold-Webb-Tester Sequestration Amendmen

I support providing the government with the flexibility it needs to conduct important surveillance of overseas targets. Both the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee's versions of this bill would allow the government to intercept all communications of overseas targets, including those communications with people inside of the United States. However, this also means that the government will necessarily be acquiring the communications of innocent Americans. I want to commend Senat… Continue Reading


Ambassador James W. Spain

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I remember being on the Senate floor on September 12th, 2001, the day after the horrendous attack on our great nation. It was the only time in my 33 years here that I can remember the public galleries being closed. Every senator came onto the floor of the Senate to indicate to the world that this symbol of democracy would not close down. I especially remember that the closed visitors' galleries contained only two people: Former Ambassador James Spain and my wife, M… Continue Reading


he President’s Decision To Fund The Office Of Government Information Services Through The Department Of Justice In The FY2009 Budget Request

(Monday, Feb. 4, 2008) - The President late last year signed into law the OPEN Government Act of 2007, legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), to make the first reforms to the Freedom of Information Act. The OPEN Government Act also established the Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administration. Within OGIS, the law calls for an appointed FOIA ombudsman to review agency… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3920, The Whitehouse Amendment On Minimization Compliance Review

The bill we are now considering gives the executive branch unprecedented authority to conduct warrantless surveillance. It would permit the government, while targeting overseas, to review more Americans' communications with less court supervision than ever before. I support surveillance of those who might do us harm, but we also have to protect Americans' civil liberties. One of the most important ways to provide that balance is to ensure a meaningful role for the courts in supervising this n… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3930 Offered By Senator Cardin (D-Md.)

I think we all recognize that this legislation would provide broad and untested new powers to the executive branch. We are willing to do that in order to protect our national security. But this surveillance does not just affect foreign targets; it also affects the privacy rights of potentially millions of American citizens. That is why it is so important that we get this right. And that is why I support Senator Cardin's amendment, which would reduce the sunset provision of this bill from si… Continue Reading


Senate Committee Gives Go Ahead For Judicial Pay Raise

(Friday, Feb. 1, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday passed legislation to authorize the first significant pay raise for the federal judiciary in almost two decades. The legislation, sponsored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), was introduced last year, and had been the subject of debate in the Committee in December. The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives passed a similar measure late last year. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts not… Continue Reading


Guard And Reserve Commission’s Recommendations Would Muffle National Guard’s Voice In Pentagon Decision Making

(Thursday, Jan. 31) -- Several recommendations in the final report of the National Guard and Reserve Commission released Thursday, if implemented, would undermine the National Guard and hamper the Defense Department's ability to respond to domestic emergencies, according to the leaders of the 87-member Senate National Guard Caucus. National Guard Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) say the Commission's Guard recommendations "do not give due credit to the… Continue Reading


Closing Statement for Department Of Justice Oversight Hearing With Attorney General Mukasey

I had hoped today would provide more clarity on so many critical issues. Instead, we heard references to legal opinions, justifications, and facts that remain hidden from Congress and the American people. It is a hallmark of our democracy that we say publicly what the laws are and what conduct they prohibit. We have seen what happens when hidden decisions rendered in secret memos are withheld from the people's elected representatives and from the American people. It erodes our civil liberti… Continue Reading


Oversight Hearing With Attorney General Michael Mukasey

Today, we welcome Michael Mukasey back before us for our first oversight hearing with the new Attorney General. And today we continue our work to restore the Department of Justice to its vital role of ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice. I first came to the Senate 33 years ago, when the Nation and the Department of Justice were reeling from Watergate and the trust of the American people in their government had been shaken. The damage done over the last seven years to ou… Continue Reading

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