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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released the following statement after the U.S. Senate failed to obtain the 60 vote threshold needed for the cloture vote on U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch:

“It is important for the American people and American democracy that the United States Senate be allowed to vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the United States Supreme Court.  Unfortunately, my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle decided to filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting.  To break their filibuster we had to modify the rules of the Senate.  I did not want to vote to change the rules, but I had no choice.  On Friday, we will now have the up or down vote that this highly qualified nominee deserves,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Judge Gorsuch is painstaking in his application of the law to the facts before him.  He is an intellectual, not an ideologue.  He is a mainstream judge, not a politician.  He understands that a judge's role is to interpret the law, not make it.  It's on that basis that he has my support."

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  
“I voted for Judge Neil Gorsuch because he understands that the role of a judge is to interpret the law, not make it.  In that regard, he is a strict constitutionalist who believes that a judge's personal policy preferences should not affect the outcome of a case.  He'll be a great addition to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Sen. Kennedy.  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu this morning urging the mayor to comply with federal immigration law.

“On March 27, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was urging all states and local jurisdictions to comply with federal immigration laws,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Unless changes are made, the city of New Orleans could be ineligible for important Department of Justice grants.  These grants support law enforcement and justice programs that the people of New Orleans rely on and sorely need, especially in light of the rampant crime in our city.  I urge Mayor Landrieu to take immediate steps to comply.”

 

Text of the letter:

 

March 30, 2017

 

The Honorable Mitchell J. Landrieu

Mayor of New Orleans

1300 Perdido Street

New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

 

VIA EMAIL, FACSIMILE, AND U.S. MAIL

 

Dear Mayor Landrieu:

On March 27, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was urging all states and local jurisdictions to comply with all federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373.  Attorney General Sessions also said he will require state and local jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with Section 1373 as a condition for receiving them.  Section 1373, as you know, prohibits state and local policies that restrict communication to the federal government about any individual's immigration status.  It prohibits so-called “sanctuary cities.” Additionally, Attorney General Sessions has previously criticized cities that refuse to honor immigration detainer requests.

The Attorney General's announcement follows President Trump's Executive Order, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”  This order stated that jurisdictions “that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary [of Homeland Security].”

The City of New Orleans is a sanctuary jurisdiction and is not in compliance with Section 1373.  On February 28, 2016, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) issued a policy that prohibits police from disclosing information on immigration status to federal officials, except in certain situations.  The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General has noted that New Orleans policy “presents concerns” and “unless the understanding of NOPD's employees is that they are not prohibited or restricted from sharing immigration status information with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], the policy would be inconsistent with Section 1373.”  Unless changes are made, the City of New Orleans could be ineligible for important Department of Justice grants.

These grants are substantial. In Fiscal Year 2016, the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice made nearly 3,000 grants, totaling $3.9 billion to states, counties, cities, and other local governments.  Closer to home, Orleans Parish received $2.9 million in Department of Justice grants during Fiscal Year 2016 and $9.4 million in Fiscal Year 2015.  These grants support law enforcement and justice programs that the people of New Orleans rely on and sorely need, especially in light of the rampant crime in our city.  Justice Department grants to our city included grants for comprehensive law enforcement strategies, programs for justice and mental health, an anti-human trafficking task force, a sexual assault kit initiative, and a youth violence prevention team.  Retaining the current policies of the New Orleans Police Department about reporting immigration status and any other refusal by city officials to cooperate in enforcing federal immigration law puts future funding at risk.  Additionally, Attorney General Sessions also mentioned the possibility of “clawing back” grant monies that have already been awarded.

You have stated publically that the New Orleans Police Department “will not be coerced into joining Trump's deportation army.”  I respect your personal feelings on illegal immigration but you must comply with federal law unless Congress sees fit to change that law.

Please take immediate steps to comply with federal immigration laws, including Section 1373, and preserve this important funding that improves the lives of citizens of New Orleans and keeps them safe. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

John Kennedy

U.S. Senator

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the state's selection of a contractor to manage the $1.6 billion recovery program for victims of the March and August flooding.

“The Division of Administration and the committee Gov. Edwards put in charge of the recovery have once again turned in a Three Stooges-like performance.  The legal opinion they relied on, done by an attorney (and former state senator) whose son worked for one of the contract bidders, has now resulted in even further delay in getting money that the U.S. Congress appropriated seven months ago into the hands of our people.  Anyone who knows a law book from a Sears and Roebuck catalog can see that Sen. Larry Bankston has a conflict.  The appearance of impropriety, and the delay, makes it that much harder for us in Congress to convince our colleagues to appropriate more taxpayer money to help our flood victims,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Members of Congress and their staff read newspapers too.  And the stench they have been reading about hurts our cause mightily.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee resumed its questioning of U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.  U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Judge Gorsuch about his past opinions, judicial precedent, and the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution.  To watch Sen. Kennedy's questioning from day two of the hearing, click below:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on former U.S. Rep. John Fleming's appointment as deputy assistant secretary for health technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I congratulate Dr. Fleming on his appointment to the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “President Trump and Secretary Price have made a wise decision in adding John to the administration.  John is a skilled physician who can help strike a balance between advancing health care through technology and not crippling our medical professionals with regulatory costs and paperwork.  He's also a good guy and was a terrific Congressman.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to honor Louisiana law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty, including East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Anderson.

“Please join me in saying a prayer for these law enforcement officers and their families.  They were sons, they were fathers who will miss out on birthdays, holidays and graduations,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “They were men who sacrificed their lives so we can sleep a little bit better.  Let us also pray for an end to the violence.  We've had enough flashing blue lights lighting up the dark nights in Louisiana.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“When I am evaluating candidates for judicial positions, I'm looking for a judge, not someone blinded by ideology.  I'm not interested in people who want to use the judiciary to advance their personal policy goals.  I want them to apply the law as it is, as best they understand it, not try to reshape the law as they wish it to be,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I also want a person who is intellectually curious, earnest is his desire to rule fairly, and willing to fight for his view of justice - sort of a cross between Socrates and Dirty Harry.  I believe Judge Gorsuch is that person.”