Senator Patrick Leahy’s Confirmation Standard: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) attends a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2021. (Susan Walsh/Pool via Reuters)
The outgoing senator from Vermont has left the judicial-confirmation process in much worse shape than he found it.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S enator Patrick Leahy (D., V.t.), who has announced that he will not seek a ninth term next year, will leave the judicial-confirmation process in much worse shape than he found it. Indeed, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 1979 — and as chairman for a combined ten years — Leahy has led a radical transformation of confirmation-process norms.

Leahy is hardly alone among politicians in demonstrating that actions speak louder than words. In his case, though, that contrast is especially pronounced because of the sheer amount of words he has dedicated to lecturing everyone about how he thinks

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Thomas Jipping is a senior legal fellow in the Edwin Meese Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

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