Patrick Leahy

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Patrick Leahy
Official portrait, 2021
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
January 20, 2021 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byChuck Grassley
Succeeded byPatty Murray
In office
December 17, 2012 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byDaniel Inouye
Succeeded byOrrin Hatch
President pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 20, 2021
Preceded byTed Stevens
Succeeded byChuck Grassley
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byGeorge Aiken
Succeeded byPeter Welch
Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee
In office
February 3, 2021 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byRichard Shelby
Succeeded byPatty Murray
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byArlen Specter
Succeeded byChuck Grassley
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byOrrin Hatch
Succeeded byOrrin Hatch
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded byOrrin Hatch
Succeeded byOrrin Hatch
Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byJesse Helms
Succeeded byRichard Lugar
State's Attorney of Chittenden County, Vermont
In office
May 10, 1966 – January 2, 1975
Preceded byJohn Fitzpatrick
Succeeded byFrancis Murray
Personal details
Patrick Joseph Leahy

(1940-03-31) March 31, 1940 (age 84)
Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Marcelle Pomerleau (m. 1962)
EducationSaint Michael's College (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
WebsiteSenate website

Patrick Joseph "Pat" Leahy, OBE (born March 31, 1940) is an American politician and part-time actor. He became a United States Senator from Vermont in 1975. He retired in 2023.

Leahy has appeared in three Batman movies Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight,[1] and in The Dark Knight Rises. He was also the voice of a Senator in Batman: The Animated Series. He supports gay marriage and LGBT rights.[2]

On December 17, 2012 after the death of Daniel Inouye, Leahy became the new President pro tempore of the United States Senate.[3] After Inouye's death, Leahy is now the most senior Democrat in the United States.[4] Leahy is currently the longest serving senator in the United States. He took office at a younger age than any other current senator. On January 3, 2015, Orrin Hatch succeeded Leahy as President pro tempore of the United States Senate. He was honored with the title President pro tempore emeritus soon afterwards. In 2021 after Democrats gained control of the U.S. Senate, Leahy became President pro tempore of the United States Senate again.

On January 25, 2021, it was announced that Leahy would be the presiding officer of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.[5][6] In November 2021, he announced that he would not run for re-election and his retirement from the Senate, officially on January 3, 2023.

Early life[change | change source]

Leahy in 1979

Leahy was born in Montpelier, Vermont, the son of Alba (née Zambon) and Howard Francis Leahy, a printer. His grandparents came to Vermont from Ireland and Italy during the 19th century to work at quarries.

Education[change | change source]

Leahy graduated from Saint Michael's College in 1961 and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1964. He practiced as a lawyer until he was elected as State's Attorney of Chittenden County in 1966 and re-elected in 1970.

Career[change | change source]

Leahy was elected to the United States Senate for the first time in 1974, succeeding retiring 34-year incumbent George Aiken.[7] At 34 years old, he was the youngest Senator in Vermont history.[8] Leahy was nearly defeated in 1980 by Republican Stewart Ledbetter, winning by only 2,700 votes amid Ronald Reagan's landslide victory.[9] In 1986, he faced what was on paper an even stronger challenger in former governor Richard Snelling, but Leahy turned back this challenge, taking 63 percent of the vote. In 1992, he faced another opponent in Secretary of State of Vermont Jim Douglas, winning by 11 points.

Leahy was the first non-Republican Senator from Vermont since 1856. To this day, he is the only Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Vermont. He is technically one of only three Democrats to represent Vermont in either house of Congress since the end of the Civil War.

Later career[change | change source]

Leahy at a press conference in 2012

March 2004, Leahy and Orrin Hatch introduced the Pirate Act backed by the RIAA. In July 2004, Leahy and Hatch introduced the INDUCE Act. Both were aimed at combating copyright infringement.[10]

On November 2, 2004, Leahy easily defeated his opponent, businessman Jack McMullen,[11] with 70.6 percent of the vote. On January 5, 2005, Leahy was sworn in for his sixth term in the Senate by Cheney.

On September 21, 2005, Leahy announced his support for John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On January 19, 2006, Leahy announced that he would vote against Judge Samuel Alito to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

On January 18, 2007, Leahy received widespread coverage for his cross-examination of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the Maher Arar affair and the extraordinary rendition of Arar to Syria.[12]

President pro tempore[change | change source]

Upon the death of Senate President pro tempore Daniel Inouye on December 17, 2012, Leahy became the most senior senator in the majority party, and was elected as the new President pro tempore by unanimous consent.[3][13]

On January 3, 2015, Orrin Hatch succeeded Leahy as President pro tempore of the United States Senate. He was honored with the title President pro tempore emeritus soon afterwards.

On January 20, 2021, Leahy became President pro tempore again since Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate.

On January 25, 2021, it was announced that Leahy would be the presiding officer at Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, becoming the first senator to preside over a president's impeachment trial.[5][6]

On November 15, 2021, Leahy announced that he would not seek re-election in 2022. He officially retired when his term ended on January 3, 2023.[14]

Personal life[change | change source]

Leahy married Marcelle Pomerleau in 1962.[15] They live in a farmhouse in Middlesex, Vermont that they moved to from Burlington, and have three children. Leahy celebrated his fifty year anniversary with his wife, saying ‘‘We hate it when we’re apart from one another.’’ Leahy is legally blind in one eye. Leahy was targeted in an anthrax attack November 16, 2001.

On January 26, 2021, Leahy was hospitalized after feeling ill.[16] He returned home later the same day.[17]

In 2023, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced that Burlington International Airport would be renamed Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport.[18] That same year, he was awarded an Honorary OBE from British Government for services to UK/USA relations.[19]

Movies[change | change source]

Title Year Role Notes
Batman Forever 1995 Himself Uncredited Cameo
Batman: The Animated Series 1995 Territorial Governor 1 Episode: "Showdown"
Batman & Robin 1997 Himself Cameo
The Dark Knight 2008 Wayne Enterprises Board Member Cameo
The Dark Knight Rises 2012 Wayne Enterprises Board Member Cameo
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 Senator Cameo

References[change | change source]

  1. Holy Cameo, Batman! It’s a Senator! NY Times. July 12, 2008
  2. "Patrick Leahy on the Issues". Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Raju, Manu. "Leahy will become president pro tempore of Senate". POLITICO.
  4. "Leahy now President Pro Tempore of Senate -". Miami Herald.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alexander Bolton; Jordain Carney (January 25, 2021). "Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial". The Hill. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Susan Davis (January 25, 2020). "Sen. Patrick Leahy To Preside Over Trump's Senate Impeachment Trial". NPR.
  7. United States Senate (April 15, 2013). "Vermont's United States Senators".
  8. The Associated Press (ed.). "Patrick Leahy sworn in as president pro tempore of Senate after Daniel Inouye's death". The Oregonian.
  9. "U.S. SENATOR - 1980 GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - VERMONT" (PDF). April 15, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  10. Techies Blast Induce Act. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  11. "Patrick Leahy – Gay Marriage". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  12. "U.S. 'knew damn well' Arar would be tortured: senator". CBC News. January 18, 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. {{cite news}}: |archive-date= / |archive-url= timestamp mismatch; 2012-11-13 suggested (help)
  14. Teaganne Finn; Jacob Fulton (November 15, 2021). "Sen. Patrick Leahy announces he won't run for re-election". NBC News.
  15. " - Sen. Leahy and wife, Marcelle, celebrate 50 years". Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  16. Axelrod, Tal (January 26, 2021). "Sen. Patrick Leahy Taken to Hospital". The Hill. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  17. Foran, Clare; Kelly, Caroline (January 26, 2021). "Sen. Patrick Leahy Home from Brief Hospitalization After Presiding Over Opening of Trump's Impeachment Trial". CNN. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  18. Huntley, Katharine (2023-04-03). "Burlington airport to be named for Leahy; State of the City expected to focus on public safety". WCAX. Gray Television. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  19. "Honorary awards to foreign nationals in 2023". Gov.UK. 2023.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Patrick Leahy at Wikimedia Commons