AFJ: NO EXCUSE TO FILIBUSTER CAITLIN HALLIGAN FOR D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
AFJ releases detailed background material on the Halligan Nomination and on the D.C. Circuit
Press ContactRichard Wexler firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2013: An attempt to filibuster the nomination of a highly-qualified nominee for a powerful appellate court is a test of whether Senate rules reform is real or just an empty promise, the Alliance for Justice said Friday.
“The fact that a minority of Senators could stop a highly-qualified nominee like Caitlin Halligan is a classic example of the misuse of the filibuster that has characterized the current Senate minority,” said AFJ President Nan Aron. “If Republicans carry out their threat to filibuster Halligan for the second time in as many years, it will make clear that the recent agreement to ‘reform’ Senate rules really was no agreement at all, but rather a blank check for continued obstruction.”
Halligan’s nomination has strong bipartisan support, including endorsements from the National District Attorneys Association, the New York State Sheriff’s Association and two former assistants to Solicitors General under Republican administrations. She also has the strong support of two Solicitors General in the Clinton Administration and of Judith Kaye, former chief judge of New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. She was rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association.
Without question, Halligan is extraordinarily well qualified for a seat on the D.C. Circuit Court. She currently serves as the General Counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and previously served as New York State Solicitor General. She has practiced extensively before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, and the state appellate courts in New York.
Halligan first was nominated in 2010, but when her nomination came up for a vote the next year, it was filibustered at the urging of the National Rifle Association. The NRA demanded that Senators oppose Halligan because, when she served as Solicitor General of New York State she followed the instructions of her “client” – the State of New York – and filed an amicus brief supporting a law the NRA did not like. Details are available here.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is widely-regarded as the nation’s second most important. But it also has more vacancies than any other federal circuit court – four of the eleven seats are vacant. The seat for which Halligan is nominated was previously held by Chief Justice John Roberts, and has been vacant for the eight years since Roberts’ appointment to the Supreme Court in 2005.
Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.