In addition to floating the creation of a “truth commission” for the Bush administration, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) had a few nuggets of interest this morning in his speech at Georgetown University, where he got his law degree. Let’s empty our notebook.
Friends on the bench: Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit introduced Leahy and offered kind words. A former Georgetown professor and Brookings Institution fellow, Katzmann said he was nervous before being nominated to the 2nd Circuit in 1999 but that Leahy put him at ease by showing him some recent photography. Also in the audience today: Judge J. Garvin Murtha of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.
Supreme Court diversity: Noting the disclosure last week that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer, a student asked Leahy, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to share any insights he might have into future nominations and his thoughts on the Court’s diversity. Leahy sidestepped the first part of the question, sending his best wishes to Ginsburg, then said: “I would like to see a Supreme Court that more directly resembles America. I would like to see more women on the Supreme Court. I would like to see more minorities on the Supreme Court.” He added that he would like to see more nominees “from outside what I call the judicial monastery,” giving former Justice Hugo Black as an example. (Black had been a U.S. senator from Alabama before joining the Court.)
What to do with detainees: Leahy revealed that he’s been meeting with White House Counsel Greg Craig to discuss what to do with the remaining detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. A student asked Leahy his opinion on the most feasible legal options for moving the detainees, and Leahy replied, “It is an extraordinarily complicated issue. ... We’re trying to find a way to do that.” He didn’t give further details.
The Batman question: Leahy’s appearance in "The Dark Knight" has earned $125,000 in residuals for a Montpelier, Vt., public library where Leahy got his first library card. The topic came up when, during today’s question-and-answer session, a student praised Leahy’s acting skills. Nearly every student raised a hand when Leahy, a longtime Batman fan, asked who had seen the film. He then reenacted his part, minus the Joker: “We’re not intimidated by thugs!”