Human Rights Alert
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09-02-09 Transcript of Senator Leahy Call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in re:United States Justice Department
It is great to be back at Georgetown. It was at the Law Center in December 2006 that Ifirst outlined the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for the last Congress. It seemsfitting to return to the University at the start of the 111th Congress to take stock, and tolook forward. I thank Judge Katzmann for the opportunity to present this MarverBernstein Lecture. What an exciting time to be an American, or to be a student, or to be a student at a greatuniversity in America’s capital city – or all three. To those of you inspired by thepresidential election of 2008, I feel a special kinship. It was John Kennedy, another young President almost 50 years ago, who inspired me to public service. I also had theprivilege of meeting his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, when I was a law student at Georgetown. When I spoke two years ago at the Law Center, America was slogging ever deeper into thedifficult challenges that we face today. For awhile the pace was incremental. Today, as theseriousness of these problems has become ever present in every American’s life, the pacehas quickened. But for the first time in a long time, there also are competing currents of hope and possibility. When I spoke at the Law Center two years ago we were a nation at a crossroads, and weare still repairing the damage from those dark days. I spoke then about the erosion of Americans’ privacy, and the need for us to restore our constitutional values and the rightsof ordinary Americans; about the importance of repairing a broken oversight process andinstilling greater accountability, and about renewing the public’s confidence in our justicesystem. Over the last two years, that is what we have begun to do.Our work included a steadfast inquiry into the U.S. Attorney firing scandal andpoliticized hiring at the Department of Justice. We exposed the partisan excesses andillegalities of the Gonzales regime that so degraded the Justice Department. We fought for access to the secret legal opinions of the Bush-Cheney-Gonzales JusticeDepartment by which they bent the law to excuse illegality, from warrantless wiretapping
Digitally signedby Joseph Zernik DN: cn=Joseph
Zernik, o, ou,email@example.com, c=USDate: 2010.08.0516:33:09 +03'00'