Washington (CNN) – Senior Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, cautioned Monday that any U.S. move toward sanctions against Russia over Ukraine should be carried out in accordance with European allies.
Separately, Republican Ron Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he's urging fellow lawmakers to speak with "one voice" as they discuss action over the developing situation in Crimea.
(CNN) – Members of Congress are split on whether to rein in the National Security Agency's surveillance activities after intelligence leaks revealed the extent of the government's data-collection program.
A review of NSA surveillance practices ordered by the White House recommended changes to the program including greater judicial oversight and more public transparency in the collection of metadata. And a U.S. district judge said that the mass collection of phone records was probably unconstitutional.
(CNN) - Sen. Marco Rubio flatly stated Thursday that he'll vote against his own immigration bill if it ends up including rights for gay and lesbian couples.
"If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm gone. I'm off it," he said. "I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen, and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy filed three amendments Tuesday night to the immigration reform package, including a controversial amendment involving gay rights that could potentially derail the bill's progress in the Senate.
Washington (CNN) –– A prominent gay rights advocacy group says a key congressional Democrat will push for new rights for same-sex couples in the Senate's immigration reform bill - a move which could undermine the legislation's bipartisan support.
According to a spokesman for Immigration Equality, Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy intends to offer an amendment later this month allowing foreign-born individuals in committed same-sex relationships with Americans to apply for green cards.FULL STORY
(CNN) - A leading senator is urging the Supreme Court to "do the right thing" and uphold the constitutionality of the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
In a floor speech Monday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, directly addressed Chief Justice John Roberts, urging him in a sharply partisan tone to keep the law, passed in 2010, in place.FULL STORY
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy issued the following statement Tuesday in response to President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court:
Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The President’s Nomination Of Sonia Sotomayor
To The U.S. Supreme Court
May 26, 2009
While visiting with our troops in Afghanistan today, President Obama called to inform me that he will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor’s nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation’s highest court. Having a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America helps ensure that we keep faith with the words engraved in Vermont marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court: “Equal justice under law.”
The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in the federal judiciary, with a fundamental role in our system of government and a fundamental impact on Americans’ everyday lives. One need look no further than the Lilly Ledbetter and Diana Levine cases to understand how just one vote can determine the Court’s decision and impact the lives and freedoms of countless Americans. I believe that Judge Sotomayor will be in the mold of Justice Souter, who understands the real-world impact of the Court’s decisions, rather than the mold of the conservative activists who second-guess Congress, and who through judicial extremism undercut laws meant to protect Americans from discrimination in their jobs, their access to health care and education, and their privacy from an overreaching government. I believe Judge Sotomayor understands that the courthouse doors must be as open to ordinary Americans as they are to government and big corporations.
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Richard Shelby told CNN Sunday his decision on President Obama's Supreme Court pick would not be affected by "payback" for the former Illinois senator's votes against Bush nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
"I’m not a payback type guy," he told John King on State of the Union. "I think you have to keep moving."
He was also pragmatic about the kind of nominee the Senate could expect to see. "I have no illusions about President Obama appointing a conservative like Alito or Roberts," he said. " But if he will appoint a pragmatist, someone who is not an ideologue, that someone is not just going to light all the lightbulbs in America on the left, I think that would be good for the country. He is very smart. He is very careful. I hope he is going to be careful in this appointment.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy suggested he knew some of the names on President Obama's Supreme Court shortlist, and planned to meet with the president this week to discuss the issue. He also said he was encouraging Obama to meet soon with leaders of both parties.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A leading Senate Democrat predicts Eric Holder will be confirmed as the nation's next attorney general, despite tough questions expected from some Republicans about his Justice Department stint during the Clinton administration.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters Thursday was "a highly qualified nominee" with a "strong character" Thursday. Leahy expressed confidence about Holder's nomination saying, "the bottom line is, Eric Holder's going to be confirmed, and he will have an awful lot of Republican votes for that nomination."
(CNN) – A senior Democratic senator has gone on the record saying Joe Lieberman should lose his committee chairmanship when the party's full Senate caucus votes on the issue next week.
"Every senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should," Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Vermont Public Radio Friday. "I'm one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did.
“I felt some of the attacks that he was involved in against Senator Obama...went way beyond the pale. I thought they were not fair, I thought they were not legitimate, I thought they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama.
"I would feel that had I done something similar," he added, "that I would not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress.”
Earlier this week, Barack Obama reportedly said he held "no grudges" against Lieberman, who endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had avoided taking any public position on whether the Democrat-turned-independent should lose his chairmanship, but sources told CNN the Senate’s top Democrat had offered Lieberman leadership of a less powerful committee – a proposal the Connecticut senator rejected.