12.13.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee on the Confirmation of Patricia M. Wald to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

I commend the Senate for confirming Judge Patricia M. Wald to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board ("PCLOB").  The Senate previously confirmed Judge Wald to this post on August 2, 2012.  The President re-nominated Judge Wald to this position in March, and the Judiciary Committee favorably reported the nomination without objection months ago.  Like many other nominees, her confirmation has been held up on the floor for months by Senate Republicans.

During her tenure on this important oversight board, Judge Wald has served with great professionalism and dedication.  And last month, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that the President can bestow.

For the past several months, our nation has been engaged in a national debate about the ever-growing need for limits on the government’s surveillance powers.  The House and the Senate are considering bipartisan legislation to rein in those expansive powers, in an effort to better protect Americans’ privacy and to increase transparency and oversight. The PCLOB is also expected to issue an important report on the government's surveillance programs to the President and Congress.  

Today's confirmation vote will ensure that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board remains at full strength as the board continues this work to safeguard our constitutional rights.  Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike have supported the work of this non-partisan board.  I commend the Senate for confirming this well qualified nominee, so that the PCLOB can continue to carry out its important responsibilities.    

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