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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

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  • Mississippi Realignment

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2013-12-10

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    LEAHY. Mr. President, tonight the Senate passed by unanimous consent a clean extension of the authority the Supreme Court Police use to protect Supreme Court Justices, their employees, and guests when they leave the Supreme Court grounds. I have worked with my counterparts in the House for months to move this extension without amendments because that authority is set to expire at the end of this month. Last month, the House voted by an overwhelming majority of 399 to 3 to pass this bipartisan bill, which extends the Supreme Court Police's authority to protect Supreme Court Justices, their staff, and official guests off Supreme Court grounds through 2019. Congress has provided this authority since the 1980s, to ensure the continued safety of our Supreme Court Justices and their employees.

    Threats to the safety of Supreme Court Justices are a threat to our democracy. In light of recent attacks of Justices off the grounds of the Supreme Court, it was all the more imperative that we pass this extension without delay. I look forward to President Obama signing this bill into law and thank the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Representatives Coble and Watt, as well as Representatives Conyers, Marino, and Holding for working with me to ensure enactment of this extension.

    The Senate also passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill to reorganize Mississippi's Southern District from five divisions to four divisions, which was recommended by Chief Judge Louis Guirola of the Southern District of Mississippi. This realignment will allow the Southern District to absorb the counties formerly served by a now- closed courthouse in Meridian, and the District will be able to better serve the needs of litigants, jurors, the bar, and the general public.

    This commonsense piece of legislation promotes efficiency and saves money in the Southern District of Mississippi. I thank Representatives Coble and Watt for sponsoring this important improvement and look forward to its swift enaction.

    I yield the floor.


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