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Patrick Leahy

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Patrick Leahy
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Assumed office
December 17, 2012
PresidentBarack Obama
LeaderHarry Reid
Preceded byDaniel Inouye
United States Senator
from Vermont
Assumed office
January 3, 1975
Serving with Bernie Sanders
Preceded byGeorge Aiken
Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Assumed office
January 4, 2007
Preceded byArlen Specter
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
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
In office
January 4, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byJesse Helms
Succeeded byRichard Lugar
Personal details
Patrick Joseph Leahy

March 31, 1940 (1940-03-31) (age 80)
Montpelier, Vermont
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Marcelle Pomerleau (m. 1962–present) «start: (1962)»"Marriage: Marcelle Pomerleau to Patrick Leahy" Location: (linkback:
ResidenceMiddlesex, Vermont
Alma materSaint Michael's College
Georgetown University Law Center

Patrick Joseph "Pat" Leahy (born March 31, 1940) is an American politician and part-time actor. He has been a United States Senator from Vermont since 1975. 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.[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.

Leahy is the only elected Democratic Senator in Vermont's history.[5] He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Early life

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.


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.


Leahy was elected to the United States Senate for the first time in 1974, succeeding retiring 34-year incumbent George Aiken.[6] At 34 years old, he was the youngest Senator in Vermont history.[7] Leahy was nearly defeated in 1980 by Republican Stewart Ledbetter, winning by only 2,700 votes amid Ronald Reagan's landslide victory.[8] 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

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.[9]

On November 2, 2004, Leahy easily defeated his opponent, businessman Jack McMullen,[10] 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.[11]

President pro tempore

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.[12][13]

Personal life

Leahy married Marcelle Pomerleau in 1962.[14] They reside 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.


  1. Holy Cameo, Batman! It’s a Senator! NY Times. July 12, 2008
  2. "Patrick Leahy on the Issues". Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  3. Leahy will Become President Pro Tempore of Senate -
  4. Leahy now President Pro Tempore of Senate -
  5. Patrick Leahy biography at
  6. United States Senate (April 15, 2013). "Vermont's United States Senators".
  7. "Patrick Leahy sworn in as president pro tempore of Senate after Daniel Inouye's death". In The Associated Press. The Oregonian.
  8. "U.S. SENATOR - 1980 GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - VERMONT". April 15, 2013.
  9. Techies Blast Induce Act. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  10. "Patrick Leahy – Marriage". Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  11. "U.S. 'knew damn well' Arar would be tortured: senator". CBC News. January 18, 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-11-31.
  14. " - Sen. Leahy and wife, Marcelle, celebrate 50 years". Retrieved September 2, 2012.

Other websites

Media related to Patrick Leahy at Wikimedia Commons