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Senator Statements

 

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Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/08/14
"Today we will finally vote on the confirmation of Jill Pryor of Georgia to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Her nomination has been pending in the Senate since February 2012—more than two and a half years"

Sen. Patrick Leahy statement [on judicial nominees, delays, filibusters, confirmations, need to create judgeships, Texas and other vacancies]
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/31/14
"[F]or the fifth year in a row, more than a dozen qualified, consensus judicial nominees pending before the full Senate will remain on the Executive Calendar during the August recess. ... We could be voting today to confirm 13 nominees to serve on our Federal courts, 12 of whom were reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote. ... Since the beginning of this year, we have reduced the vacancies on our Federal courts by over a third, from 92 to 57, and reduced the number of judicial emergency vacancies by nearly half, from 37 to 19. ... In addition to the 57 current vacancies, the Judicial Conference has identified the need for 91 new judgeships in some of America's judicial districts and circuits with the most burdensome caseloads. Last year, Senator Coons and I introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 to enact these recommendations into law. ...There remain 57 vacancies on the Federal bench--far more than the 42 vacancies at this point during the Bush administration. There are an additional 24 announced future vacancies ... The incredible burden facing Federal courts in Texas is understandable with its nine current district court vacancies--more than any other State. ...I also hope that the Texas Senators will continue to work with the administration on nominees to fill the six other current district vacancies in their State as well as the four known future district court vacancies."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement and letters of support for Pamela Harris's Fourth Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/24/14
"Both her testimony and the letters of bipartisan support for her nomination demonstrate that Pam Harris has a clear understanding of the role of a judge and make clear her commitment to follow Supreme Court precedent and to uphold the Constitution."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/24/14
"Many lawyers who have practiced with Pam Harris have written in support of her nomination, including many prominent Republicans who are respected in the legal community. One letter, signed by more than 80 of her professional peers, including Gregory Garre, the former U.S. Solicitor General for President George W. Bush reads, “We are lawyers from diverse backgrounds and varying affiliations, but we are united in our admiration for Pam's skills as a lawyer and our respect for her integrity, her intellect, her judgment, and her fair-mindedness.” Another letter of support from a number of current and former partners at O’Melveny and Myers LLP, including A.B. Culvahouse, who served as White House Counsel during the Reagan administration and Walter Dellinger, who served as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel and Acting U.S. Solicitor General during the Clinton administration reads, “Although we may not all share Pam’s views on a range of legal and political issues, we are united in the belief that Pam possesses the intellect, fair-mindedness, humility, and fundamental decency to make an excellent federal judge.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/17/14
"I have heard some Senators claim that Pamela Harris would be unable to set aside political views and faithfully uphold the Constitution. This is contradicted by both her testimony before the Committee and her professional record. The Committee has received many letters of support for Ms. Harris’ nomination, including from numerous prominent Republicans who are respected in the legal community."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Nomination of Judge Ronnie White
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/16/14
"The Senate will vote today to try to end the unjustified filibuster against Judge Ronnie White, who has been nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Many Senators will remember Judge White from 15 years ago, when the Senate denied his confirmation by a party line vote after an ugly campaign by Republican Senators to caricature him as a jurist who was soft on crime. Today, the Senate has an opportunity to reject that unjust characterization and confirm a well-qualified and principled man who has demonstrated his ability to be a fair judge and who is faithful to the law."

Sen. Leahy Statement on NOMINATION OF CHERYL ANN KRAUSE TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/26/14
"Ms. Krause should already have been confirmed and be at work for the American people. Instead, Senate Republicans continue to filibuster qualified, uncontroversial nominees who in previous years would have been confirmed without any delay. This is deeply unfair to all Americans seeking access to justice and to the judicial nominees who, like Cheryl Krause, have had distinguished careers in the law. Of the 54 judicial nominees filibustered this year, 30 have been confirmed unanimously, without a single vote against them. These filibusters are undeserved, and should stop."

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Confirmation Of Geoffrey Crawford To The U.S. District Court In Vermont
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/24/14
“Justice Crawford came highly recommended, well qualified, and broadly experienced. He’s a well-grounded Vermonter and a good fit for Vermont and our federal court. I appreciate the bipartisan cooperation that has helped me steer his nomination through this intricate process in pretty much record time. His prompt confirmation will ease the transition.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Crawford Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/23/14
"Justice Crawford, like the three other nominees we will vote on today, has been nominated to fill an emergency vacancy. He is a qualified, uncontroversial nominee, with the full support of his home state Senators. He and the three other nominees deserve to be confirmed without delay. I thank the Majority Leader for bringing these nominations up for a vote, and urge Senators to vote to defeat these filibusters and get these nominees working for the American people in courthouses around the nation."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Approves 13 Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/19/14
"The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved 13 nominees to fill judicial vacancies ... Six of the nominees approved on Thursday would fill emergency vacancies, including two emergency vacancies on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.... "I am proud once again to support the nomination of Ronnie White, an excellent nominee who has distinguished himself as a judge and attorney,” Leahy said. “The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police said ‘We can think of no finer or more worthy nominee,’ and I agree. Nearly 15 years after Ronnie White’s nomination was wrongly blocked by Senate Republicans, I hope that all Senators will stand on the right side of history and support his confirmation.”"

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/18/14
"Ronnie White is nominated to serve as a district judge in the Eastern District of Missouri. I supported him when he was first nominated by President Clinton nearly 17 years ago. In the intervening years, Judge White went on to be the first African American to serve as the Chief Judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. ... The Committee has received several letters of support for Judge White’s nomination, including from the President of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, who wrote on behalf of its more than 5,400 members. He wrote: “We [are] hopeful that the Senate confirms his nomination. We do not take such stances lightly. As front line law enforcement officers, we recognize the important need to have jurists such as Ronnie White, who have shown themselves to be tough on crime, yet fair and impartial. As a former justice on the Missouri Court of Appeals and as the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, Ronnie White has proven that he has the experience and requisite attributes to be a quality addition to the U.S. District Court. We can think of no finer or more worthy nominee." I could not agree more"

Sen. Leahy Statement [on Historic Judicial Nominations & Filibusters]
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/17/14
"The confirmation of these nominees will be historic milestones for diversity on the Federal bench. If confirmed, Judge Mendoza would be the first Latino to serve on the Federal bench in the Eastern District of Washington. The confirmation of Staci Yandle would make her the first African-American woman ever to serve as a Federal judge in the Southern District of Illinois, as well as the first openly gay Federal judge to serve in Illinois. And, if confirmed, Judge Gayles would be the first openly gay African-American man judge to ever serve on the Federal bench. It is important that the Federal bench reflects the diversity of the American people, and we should be proud of the progress we are making today.... With yesterday's cloture votes, the Senate has voted on cloture for judicial nominees 50 times so far this year. This is more than all the cloture votes on judicial nominees during the two preceding administrations combined. This level of partisanship is meritless, and only serves to weaken the Federal courts and the American justice system."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting June 12, 2014
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/12/14
"We have 15 judicial nominees that can be reported out today with some cooperation ... it is very rare that we have a judicial nominee before us from my home state because we only have two authorized district court judgeships. Today, I hope the Committee will report the nomination of Justice Geoffrey Crawford to be the next federal district court judge in Vermont. Justice Crawford has earned a great reputation from his long service on the state trial court and he was recently elevated to our Supreme Court. I recommended him to the President because he is thoughtful, brilliant, and appreciates the impact that the courts have on the communities they serve. Also on today’s agenda is one of my longtime counsels, Lydia Griggsby. She has worked for me since 2006 and she currently serves as my Chief Counsel for Privacy and Information Policy. She has worked across the aisle on a number of issues over the years, and many of you know firsthand that she will make an excellent addition to the Court of Federal Claims. I hope we can report these nominations today"

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Committee Consideration of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/11/14
"“This week, the Judiciary Committee will begin consideration of a number of important judicial nominations. After consulting with Ranking Member Grassley, I will be adding six additional judicial nominees from Georgia to this week’s agenda. I have always consulted with home state senators regarding nominations in their states, and Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson asked that I move forward with the Georgia nominees who were ready for a Committee vote. I thank both of them for their willingness to move forward with these important nominations. Meanwhile, the Committee will continue its consideration of the nomination of Michael Boggs to serve on the district court in Georgia. More time is needed to follow up on his recent testimony before his nomination will be scheduled for a vote.”

Sen. Leahy Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/10/14
"After today, we will have already voted 47 times for cloture in just the last 6 months. These votes do nothing to further what should be our collective goal of an efficient and fair justice system, accessible to all. I can only hope that Senate Republicans soon put an end to this obstruction.... After today, we will have already voted 47 times for cloture in just the last 6 months. These votes do nothing to further what should be our collective goal of an efficient and fair justice system, accessible to all. I can only hope that Senate Republicans soon put an end to this obstruction.... Mr. Boulware's ABA rating is higher than or on par with 33 of President Bush's nominees who were confirmed ... he will be the first African-American man to serve as a Federal judge in the District of Nevada.... There are seven additional judicial nominees reported by the Judiciary Committee currently pending on the Senate Executive Calendar. Five of these nominees are nominated to fill judicial emergency vacancies, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to confirm these nominations."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy, Statement, Hearing On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/14
"Today, we will hear from four well-qualified judicial nominees, one to the district court in the great state of Vermont and three to U.S. Court of Federal Claims. ...I recommended Justice Crawford to President Obama after he was vetted and recommended to me by Vermont’s non-partisan Judicial Nominating Commission. I did not know Justice Crawford personally before this process but when I did meet him I was struck by his brilliance, compassion, and humility. Justice Crawford earned a stellar reputation in Vermont’s legal community and also from those who had appeared him as a careful jurist who understands the effects that legal rulings have on people’s lives."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/14
"These nominees are not controversial and in past years would have been confirmed weeks, or even months, ago. Instead, Republicans continue to refuse to give consent for votes on any judicial nominee, irrespective of their qualifications or the support of home State Senators. As a result, yesterday the Senate was forced again to waste valuable time voting to end the unnecessary filibusters of three highly qualified nominees. The Senate has now voted to end the filibusters of 44 judicial nominees so far during 2014. It is every Senator's right to demand continued debate on any measure or nomination before this chamber. But I would say to any Senator who requires a cloture vote on a qualified, consensus nominee to at least speak about the nominee and not to obstruct for obstruction's sake.... there are 10 additional judicial nominees reported by the Judiciary Committee pending on the Senate Executive Calendar, including seven nominees who were reported unanimously. Six of the 10 judicial nominees that will be left pending after today's confirmation votes will fill judicial emergency vacancies in the District of Nevada, the Southern District of Illinois, and in the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. I hope that the Senate moves quickly to confirm these nominees, and others."

Sen. Leahy Praises EPA’s Historic New Limits On Pollution From The Power Sector
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/02/14
"The EPA is doing just what Congress and the Supreme Court has directed under the Clean Air Act: If a pollutant endangers public health and welfare, it must be limited."

Sen. Leahy Posts Official Notice Of June 4 Confirmation Hearing For Vermont Chief Justice Crawford, Nominated For Vermont’s Upcoming District Court Vacancy
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/29/14
"The U.S. District Court in Vermont is at full strength with two active judges currently serving, but Judge William Sessions’ decision to take senior status will soon create a vacancy.... Leahy has called Justice Crawford “a fine jurist in the finest Vermont tradition.”"

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement in suppoort of David Barron nomination to the First Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/22/14
"Yesterday, we were able to overcome the unjustified Republican filibuster of this extraordinary nominee. Now, I have had the privilege of serving longer in this body than any other Senator here. I have never seen so many filibusters of judicial nominees by any President, Republican or Democratic. In fact, Republicans filibustered the very first judge President Obama sent to this body, a judge who was strongly supported by the Senators from his State, one of whom was the most senior Republican in this body, the other a moderate Democrat.... David Barron ... clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice John Paul Stevens. In fact, I recall that Justice Stevens had so much regard for him that he attended Mr. Barron's nomination hearing. I am in full support of Mr. Barron's nomination. It is almost as if he was sent to central casting for who should be a court of appeals judge. I have not seen any judicial nominee with better qualifications by either a Republican or Democratic President....both Mr. Barron and a long list of bipartisan supporters have forcefully refuted any indication that he views the role of a judge as that of a policymaker.... Barron's respect for the rule of law was recently reaffirmed by Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell, a well-respected conservative scholar and former George W. Bush appointee to the Tenth Circuit."

Sen. Leahy: President Announces Intention To Nominate Vermont Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Crawford For Vermont’s Upcoming U.S. District Court Vacancy . . . As Recommended By Leahy, After Screening By Vermont Merit Panel
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/19/14
Leahy said, “The President sees in Justice Crawford what I, the members of the merit commission, and all Vermonters have come to know about him. He is a fine jurist in the finest Vermont tradition, and he is committed to the highest standards of public service. I look forward soon to bringing Justice Crawford before the Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations [Barron, Costa & 6 AZ nominees]
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/14/14
"As I said last week, the Administration has made available unredacted copies of any memo issued by Mr. Barron regarding the potential use of lethal force against Anwar Al-Awlaki. This week, the Administration has made clear that this material included all written legal advice by Mr. Barron regarding potential use of lethal force against U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations. Senators therefore have had the opportunity to conduct their due diligence before voting on this nomination.... We should proceed to Mr. Barron’s nomination and confirm him so he can get to work on behalf of the American people. Delays are simply depriving the Federal judiciary and all Americans of a tremendous public servant."

Chairman Leahy Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/13/14
"Some of these positions have remained vacant for far too long. For instance, the two Eleventh Circuit seats are judicial emergency vacancies, as are two of the Northern District of Georgia seats. Some press accounts have described six of these nominees as being a “package deal” that was negotiated between the Georgia Senators and the President. I have noted before that there is no “deal” negotiated with me as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee or with any of the other Senators. The constitutional responsibility of advice and consent resides with each individual Senator, and there is no such thing as a binding deal that negates each Senator’s responsibility to determine the fitness of a judicial nominee for a lifetime appointment. Nor should any Senator be making up their minds about nominees without allowing the process to run its course. ... I note that today’s slate of nominees includes five women – I cannot recall the last time when so many women were seated at the witness table. The President has many critics but I believe he has done an outstanding job increasing the diversity of our Federal bench during his tenure and I commend him for continuing to do so. From district court nominees to circuit court nominees and even to his two Supreme Court Justice nominees, this President has made it a priority to have our federal bench reflect the people it serves."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of David Barron to Serve on the First Circuit Court of Appeals
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/08/14
“Earlier today, the Ranking Member requested that the administration provide materials relating to Anwar Al-Awlaki so that all Senators would be able to properly evaluate Mr. Barron’s nomination. The administration has now made available unredacted copies of any memo issued by Mr. Barron regarding the potential use of lethal force against Anwar Al-Awlaki. I hope and expect that all Senators will review these materials today.”

Sen. Judiciary Chairman Leahy Statement at Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/08/14
"There are four judicial nominations to fill emergency vacancies in Florida listed on the agenda. They were held over last week and I am glad that we can report them out today. They have the support of home state Senators Nelson and Rubio."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Makes Progress To Fill Judicial Vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/08/14
“From day one of this President’s time in office, Senate Republicans have obstructed and slowed the confirmation process,” Leahy said. “It is a shame we have to go to such lengths to confirm highly qualified nominees, but we are making progress. I thank the majority leader for making judicial nominations a priority and I hope that we are able to confirm more nominees in the coming weeks.” Leahy supported efforts last year to overcome Republican abuse of procedural rules. Following a change to the Senate rules, which took away a major hurdle in the confirmation process, the Senate has confirmed 32 judicial nominees so far this year. At the same point last year, the Senate confirmed just 14 of President Obama’s judicial nominees. The same obstruction that forced a change in Senate rules has also kept the judicial vacancy rate high under President Obama. Today, there are 74 judicial vacancies throughout the country. At the same point under President Bush in May 2006, there were 50 judicial vacancies.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/08/14
"I am confident that once we proceed with Mr. Barron’s nomination that Senators will vote to confirm him. He is brilliant nominee who is currently a professor at Harvard Law School. He is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law, the separation of powers, administrative law, and federalism. He clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens has such high regard for Mr. Barron that the Justice attended his nomination hearing. ...Mr. Barron is truly an outstanding nominee and I hope all Senators will support his nomination when it comes up. Today, we will vote to end the filibusters of four other very highly qualified nominees."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of David Barron to Serve on the First Circuit Court of Appeals
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/06/14
“I applaud the administration for making available to all Senators the Justice Department memo regarding Anwar Al Awlaki. All members of the Judiciary Committee were previously able to review this memo, and I am glad all Senators will have the opportunity to do so now. Senate Republicans have consistently blocked most of President Obama’s judicial nominees so it comes as no surprise that they continue to do so with this nominee. David Barron is a brilliant lawyer who is committed to public service. Based on his entire career as a lawyer, I am confident he will be an excellent judge on the First Circuit. I supported David Barron’s nomination in the Judiciary Committee and I look forward to supporting his confirmation on the Senate floor.”