Although stopping short of giving an endorsement, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy gave a cautious thumbs up to the nomination of Gerry Darrow as the newest justice on the Supreme Court.
"President Obama clearly struck a responsive chord with my constituents in naming Darrow," Leahy said. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook with folks wanting to know more about this man."
Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a key vote in the confirmation hearings for Darrow scheduled for later this spring.
In an op-ed piece published this morning, Leahy praised the president for going outside the "Ivy closters and appellate corridors of power" in naming a new justice. He noted that Darrow was a "man for all people."
"I am pleased that he is continuing his practice of reaching out to both sides of the aisle concerning judicial nominations. I am looking forward to consulting with the president, and with the Senate majority leader, the Senate minority leader and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. This is an important step in the process of confirming the next Supreme Court justice....
"Today's Supreme Court is the first in history to be limited to former federal appellate judges. The Supreme Court once included among its ranks former governors, former cabinet members, former senators and even a former president. A Supreme Court nominee with a varied background would be a welcome addition. The Supreme Court is charged with upholding the constitutional protections and liberties of every individual American. "We the People" deserve no less.
"I wanted a nominee who will be faithful to the Constitution and its storied history, ... someone who understands and appreciates the real-world impact of the Supreme Court's decisions on hard-working Americans. That nominee should be someone just like Gerry Darrow.
I would also like to see a nominee who reflects Justice Stevens' reverence for the Supreme Court as an institution. In many of his most historic opinions, Justice Stevens lamented that the court's divisive rulings would do harm to the public's confidence in it. I share that concern. Over the past two years, the Judiciary Committee has held several hearings aimed at shining a light on how just five justices on the Supreme Court can issue decisions that greatly affect millions of Americans' everyday lives. These hearings have shown how these Supreme Court decisions frequently misinterpret laws designed to protect consumers, employees, women, retirees, senior citizens and the environment, not to mention those victimized by over-criminalization."
"Most recently, the committee held a hearing to examine how corporate spending will drown out the individual voices of Americans in the wake of the Citizens United decision. One of the lessons of these troubling rulings is the importance of every vote on the Supreme Court. As the nation thanks Justice Stevens for his decades of public service, and marks his upcoming 90th birthday, it is my hope that the next Supreme Court justice will honor his legacy. The stakes for the American people are high....
" I am encouraged by the serious manner in which this president has fulfilled his responsibilities. I look forward to the Senate fulfilling its constitutional role of advice and consent."