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Leahy Rewrites History On Presidential Election Year Judicial Nominees

- February 14, 2016

Today, When Pressed On The "Thurmond Rule" In Which The Opposition Party Blocks Consideration Of Lifetime Judicial Appointments During A Presidential Election Year, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) Claimed "There Is Not Such Thing As The 'Thurmond Rule.'" CNN's DANA BASH: "But for, I want to ask you about something called the 'Thurmond Rule' which is an informal agreement in the senate that the party not in the White House blocks all judicial nominees during a presidential campaign season. You subscribed to that when it was the opposite, so why is it different now?" SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): "Well, there is no such thing as a 'Thurmond Rule.'" (CNN's " State Of The Union," 2/14/16)
 

But When President Bush Was In The White House, Leahy Repeatedly Invoked The "Thurmond Rule"

Leahy Invoked And Described The Thurmond Rule In A 2006 Speech To Highlight His Bipartisanship. LEAHY: "I did tell the attorney general, to show how bipartisan I am, I won't even go back to the old Thurmond rule." QUESTIONER: "You should probably tell us what the Thurmond rule was." LEAHY: "The Thurmond rule, in memory of Strom Thurmond - he put this in when the Republicans were in the minority, which said that in a presidential election year, after spring, no judges would go through except by the consent of both the Republican and Democratic leader. I want to be bipartisan. We will institute the Thurmond rule, yes." (Sen. Pat Leahy, Remarks At Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 12/13/06)
 
 
Leahy In 2004: "It Is A Well-Established Practice That In Presidential Election Years There Comes A Point When Judicial Confirmation Hearings Are Not Continued Without Agreement." LEAHY: "Whether they acknowledge it as the Thurmond Rule, or something else, it is a well-established practice that in presidential election years there comes a point when judicial confirmation hearings are not continued without agreement." (Sen. Pat Leahy, "Sen. Leahy Comments On Judicial Nominations," Press Release, 11/23/04)
 
Leahy: Thurmond Rule Used To "Prevent The Consideration Of Lifetime Judicial Appointments In The Last Year Of A Presidency Unless Consensus Nominees." LEAHY: "The Thurmond Rule dates back at least to July 1980 when the Reagan campaign urged Senate Republicans to block President Carter's judicial nominees. Over time, Senator Thurmond and Republican leaders refined their use of and practices under the rule to prevent the consideration of lifetime judicial appointments in the last year of a presidency unless consensus nominees. Consent of the majority and minority leaders as well as the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee came to be the norm." (Sen. Pat Leahy, "Statement Of Sen. Leahy On Nominations Of Saad, Griffin, McKeague To U.S. Court Of Appeal For The Sixth Circuit," Press Release, 7/22/04)
 
Leahy: "At This Point In A Presidential Election Year, In Accordance With The Thurmond Rule, Only Consensus Nominees Being Taken Up…" LEAHY: "At this point in a presidential election year, in accordance with the Thurmond Rule, only consensus nominees being taken up with the approval of the majority and minority leaders and the chairman and ranking members of the Judiciary Committee should be considered." (Sen. Pat Leahy, "Statement Of Sen. Leahy On Nomination Of Myers," Press Release, 7/20/04)

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