June 27th, 2010
12:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Senators signal contentious hearing on Supreme Court nominee

Washington (CNN) - The leading senators on the Judiciary Committee signaled a contentious hearing on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination starting Monday, with ranking Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama saying a GOP filibuster was possible.

"This nominee does have serious deficiencies," Sessions said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

He cited Kagan's lack of experience as a judge and what he called her liberal leanings.

"I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law, even if she doesn't like the law?" Sessions said.

Pressed about a possible Republican filibuster against the nomination, Sessions said: "It's conceivable a filibuster might occur."

Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, responded on the same program by noting that other Supreme Court justices including William Rehnquist and Hugo Black also had no experience as judges before taking their high court seats.
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Filed under: Elena Kagan • Jeff Sessions • Patrick Leahy • Senate • Supreme Court
May 10th, 2010
10:35 AM ET
5 years ago

Kagan should be confirmed before the August recess, Leahy says

Sen. Patick Leahy said Monday that he Elena Kagan should be confirmed before the August Congressional recess.
Sen. Patick Leahy said Monday that he Elena Kagan should be confirmed before the August Congressional recess.

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a statement Monday after President Obama's announcement.

"I congratulate Elena Kagan on her nomination to the Supreme Court," Leahy said in the written statement. "The President chose from an impressive list of superbly qualified candidates. He consulted with Senators on both sides of the aisle, and with others. As a scholar of the Constitution himself, he brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to his selection process. He wanted to select an outstanding future Justice who is well within the mainstream of legal and constitutional thought, and her recent Senate confirmation to be Solicitor General of the United States would appear to support that."

Leahy added, "The Senate has adequate time to thoroughly review Ms. Kagan’s impressive qualifications and academic writings, as well as her court filings and oral arguments while she has served the nation as Solicitor General, and consider her nomination this summer. I will work with Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to schedule her confirmation hearing promptly. The Senate acted responsibly to confirm both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor before the start of the Court’s term in both of those instances. Applying the same standard to this nomination, the Senate should confirm Ms. Kagan before the August recess.

"Among the most serious constitutional duties entrusted to the Senate is the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices. Americans are looking to Washington to cast aside the political rancor and partisanship that has fueled so many recent debates. The decisions made at the nation’s highest court affect the daily lives of all Americans. Our constituents deserve a civil and thoughtful debate on this nomination, followed by an up-or-down vote."


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Patrick Leahy • Senate • Supreme Court
April 23rd, 2010
02:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Cheney reflects on 'f**k' yourself comment

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Dennis Miller Thursday that telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to ‘f**k’ himself was ‘sort of the best thing I ever did.’
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Dennis Miller Thursday that telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to ‘f**k’ himself was ‘sort of the best thing I ever did.’

(CNN) – Democrats were gleeful in 2004 when former Vice President Dick Cheney on the Senate floor told a senior lawmaker to "f**k" himself – a gesture, they thought, that was emblematic of Cheney's hard-heartedness.

Six years later, Cheney is looking back on that moment with pride.

"You'd be surprised how many people liked that," Cheney told conservative comedian and radio host Dennis Miller Thursday. "That's sort of the best thing I ever did."

Audio of the comments were posted on the liberal Web site Think Progress.

Cheney aimed the choice words at Sen. Patrick Leahy, now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in June 2004. Cheney was upset with Leahy's criticism of Iraq contracting deals that the Bush administration had awarded to Halliburton, the company Cheney used to head.

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Filed under: Dick Cheney • Patrick Leahy
April 13th, 2010
04:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Democratic senators urge action on Obama's judicial nominees

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lashed out at Senate Republicans on Tuesday for holding up confirmation votes on President Obama's judicial nominees.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lashed out at Senate Republicans on Tuesday for holding up confirmation votes on President Obama's judicial nominees.

Washington (CNN) – The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lashed out at Senate Republicans on Tuesday for holding up confirmation votes on President Obama's judicial nominees.

"The overall pattern set by Republicans on the other side of the aisle is one of reflexive partisanship, not principled argument," Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, told reporters. "Increasingly, Senate Republicans are avoiding answering aye or nay on these nominations. They prefer saying 'just maybe.' "

He pointed to the Republicans' use of filibustering, a parliamentarian tactic in which 60 votes are needed to end debate and allow an up-or-down vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference it appears Democrats will have to force a vote on some of the nominations, leading to late-night sessions.

"It will mean some speeches showing the American people how unusual this is in the history of our country, to have a party saying no to everything," he added.

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Follow Ed Hornick on Twitter: @HornickCNN


Filed under: GOP • Patrick Leahy
April 11th, 2010
11:44 AM ET
5 years ago

Senators signal bruising Supreme Court confirmation battle

ALT TEXT

A Democratic and Republican senator sparred Sunday over the impending confirmation process for President Obama's second Supreme Court pick. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) - (CNN) - Two leading senators on the Judiciary Committee, which will consider President Barack Obama's upcoming Supreme Court nominee, signaled Sunday that a bruising fight is likely.

Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, called the current conservative-leaning Supreme Court the most activist he had seen, while ranking Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama wouldn't rule out a filibuster if Obama nominates what the GOP perceives to be a liberal activist.
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Filed under: Jeff Sessions • Patrick Leahy • Supreme Court
April 9th, 2010
11:03 AM ET
5 years ago

Stevens reaction: Last of 'the Greatest Generation' -Leahy

(CNN) - Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement Friday.

Read the statement after the jump:
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Filed under: John Paul Stevens • Patrick Leahy • Supreme Court
February 27th, 2010
09:15 AM ET
5 years ago

Senators' friendship strong on and off Capitol Hil

ALT TEXT

After more than 35 years, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, (pictured far left) and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, (pictured far right) are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - While many in Washington believe that bipartisanship is long gone, two seasoned senators say it's not - at least not yet.

The relationship between Sen. Richard Lugar, a conservative Republican from Indiana, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, a liberal Democrat from Vermont, was born in obscurity - two very junior senators at the far reaches of a committee room table.

Leahy recalled a story from a time when their voices were virtually muted in a committee meeting.

"Neither one of us could hear what they [committee leaders] were muttering. And I said, 'Well, wait a minute, could I ask what was in that amendment?' You could see the two look down like 'Who the heck are these two guys at the end?' [He] takes his gavel and said, 'We're adjourned.' "

After more than 35 years, Leahy and Lugar are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.

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Filed under: Dick Lugar • Patrick Leahy • Popular Posts • Senate • State of the Union
January 28th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
July 20th, 2009
04:54 AM ET
5 years ago

Leahy on Sotomayor: 'Stop the racial politics'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should be judged on the merits of her 17-year judicial record and the week of confirmation hearings that just ended rather than on suspicions about her racial allegiances.

“You had one leader of the Republican Party call her the equivalent to the head of the Klu Klux Klan,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Another leader of the Republican Party called her a bigot,” Leahy added, later explaining that he was making reference to comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

After Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Republican on the committee, referred to Sotomayor’s past involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Leahy again suggested that some Republicans were being unfairly critical of Sotomayor.

“I hope we don’t go back to the day when we used to have African-Americans up for confirmation and say ‘Yes, but you belong to the NAACP so, you know, we’re really suspicious of you,’” Leahy said CNN’s State of the Union.

“C’mon, stop the racial politics,” Leahy added.

Leahy remarks drew an immediate response from Sessions.
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July 19th, 2009
07:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Leahy on Sotomayor: 'Stop the racial politics'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should be judged on the merits of her 17-year judicial record and the week of confirmation hearings that just ended rather than on suspicions about her racial allegiances.

“You had one leader of the Republican Party call her the equivalent to the head of the Klu Klux Klan,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Another leader of the Republican Party called her a bigot,” Leahy added, later explaining that he was making reference to comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

After Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Republican on the committee, referred to Sotomayor’s past involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Leahy again suggested that some Republicans were being unfairly critical of Sotomayor.

“I hope we don’t go back to the day when we used to have African-Americans up for confirmation and say ‘Yes, but you belong to the NAACP so, you know, we’re really suspicious of you,’” Leahy said CNN’s State of the Union.

“C’mon, stop the racial politics,” Leahy added.

Leahy remarks drew an immediate response from Sessions.
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