[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 161 (Wednesday, November 13, 2013)]
[Page S7996]

                     NOMINATION OF PATRICIA M. WALD

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I commend President Obama for renominating 
Judge Patricia M. Wald to serve as a member of the Privacy and Civil 
Liberties Oversight Board, ``PCLOB''. The Senate unanimously confirmed 
Judge Wald to this post on August 2, 2012. The President renominated 
Judge Wald to this position in March, and the Judiciary Committee 
favorably reported the nomination without objection months ago. During 
her tenure on this important oversight board, Judge Wald has served 
with great professionalism and dedication. And next week, she will 
receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor 
that the President can bestow.
  For the past several months, we have been engaged in a national 
debate about the ever-growing need for limits on the government's 
surveillance powers. In the coming weeks, the House and the Senate will 
consider bipartisan legislation to rein in those expansive powers in an 
effort to protect Americans' privacy and to increase transparency and 
oversight. While I look forward to that debate and consideration of 
this important legislation, it is urgent that the Privacy and Civil 
Liberties Oversight Board continue to operate at full strength to 
safeguard our constitutional rights. The PCLOB has held two all day 
hearings on these surveillance matters in recent months, and plans to 
issue an important report to the President and Congress. Judge Wald has 
been a key participant in these proceedings. Should the Senate fail to 
confirm her nomination before we adjourn, however, Judge Wald would be 
forced to step down from the PCLOB at a critical time when the board is 
conducting its work to evaluate the privacy and civil liberties 
implications of the Nation's surveillance programs.
  Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike have supported the 
important work of this nonpartisan board. Unfortunately, a secret 
objection on the Republican side is needlessly delaying Judge Wald's 
confirmation. I urge the Senate to promptly confirm this well qualified 
nominee, so that the PCLOB can carry out its important 
responsibilities. If a single Republican Senator has a concern about 
Judge Patricia Wald's impeccable credentials, they should come forward 
with the reason they are holding up her confirmation.