Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who serves as president pro tempore of the US Senate, has announced that he will not run for reelection in 2022 after serving in the chamber since 1975. Due to his role in the Senate, Leahy is third in the presidential line of succession, after Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).Leahy, 81, is the longest-serving current member of the Senate, and recently became the fourth-longest serving member in the history of the chamber. He announced his decision on Monday at the Vermont State House, in the state’s capital of Montpelier.“It is time to put down the gavel — it is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter,” Leahy said, according to the New York Times. “It is time to come home.”“Representing you in Washington is the greatest honor,” Leahy added. “I’m humbled, and always will be, by your support. I’m confident in what the future holds.”
Earlier this year, Leahy presided over the second impeachment of former US President Donald Trump, in addition to his duties serving as a juror during the process. Trump was acquitted by the Senate, however.“Very few in the history of the United States Senate can match the record of Patrick Leahy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “He has been a guardian of Vermont and more rural states in the Senate, and has an unmatched fidelity to the Constitution and rule of law.”Notably, Leahy is a well-known fan of comic book superhero Batman, after gravitating towards his stories in a library when he was young. Leahy has appeared in five Caped Crusader big-screen adventures, starting with a cameo in 1995’s “Batman Forever.”He also appeared in 1997’s “Batman & Robin,” as well as the highly-acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series.” Most memorably, Leahy played a Gotham City businessman who was threatened by the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning take on the Joker in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”
“You know, you remind me of my father,” Ledger’s Joker says to Leahy’s character before threatening him with a knife. “I hated my father.”Leahy reprised the role in the film’s 2012 sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises,” playing a fictional US lawmaker named ‘Senator Purrington’ during a climactic Senate hearing scene with Superman in the 2016 blockbuster film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”All royalties and fees from Leahy’s roles in the Batman movies are donated to charities, primarily to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, where he first read Batman comics as a child. The library’s co-director, Carolyn Brennan, reports that Leahy has donated more than $150,000 from his roles in the “Dark Knight” trilogy alone, according to CNN.
At the library, a plaque is dedicated to Leahy, thanking him for “not being intimidated by thugs,” a reference to his line in “The Dark Knight.”