Senate Republicans on Tuesday successfully filibustered the nomination of pro-abortion judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan to replace Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered to be the nation’s second most important court.
With lawmakers voting 54-45, Senate Democrats failed to get the 60 votes they needed to move to an actual vote on Halligan’s nomination.
Several pro-life groups opposed Halligan’s nomination and urged senators to vote against cloture. All of the Senate’s conservative Republicans voted against cloture and they were joined by moderates who have upset pro-life advocates by supporting the judges in the past — with Sens. Dick Lugar of Indiana, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts opposing Halligan. On the other hand, pro-abortion Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted for cloture.
Meanwhile, every Senate Democrat, including “pro-life” Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, voted for allowing a vote on the pro-abortion nominee.
First nominated on September 29, 2010, the Democrat-led Senate took no action on Ms. Halligan’s nomination, forcing President Obama to resubmit her nomination. On March 10, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination on a party-line vote.
See how your lawmaker voted here.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council said Halligan should face strong opposition from pro-life members of the Senate when, tomorrow, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid brings her nomination to the Senate floor.
“Like so many others, Halligan is an attractive candidate to the Left because she brings to the table an extensive resume of radicalism,” Perkins says.
“As Solicitor General, Halligan sided with the National Organization for Women in a brief that tried to slam pro-life protestors with extortion and racketeering charges under a twisted interpretation of the Hobbs Act,” he explains. “Their claim was so outside the mainstream that the U.S. Supreme Court threw it out in an 8-1 decision.”
“Her brand of judicial activism would be a devastating blow in the D.C. Circuit Court, which plays a major role in interpreting federal statutes and regulations. If she really does view the courts as a “special friend of liberty,” there’s no telling what damage she could do under the guise of social progress,” Perkins continues.
“If she fills the vacancy on the D.C. Circuit, Halligan will be free to act as an unaccountable legislator on one of the most powerful courts in the country–with permanent job security,” Perkins says. “Contact your senators today and ask them to vote against Caitlin Halligan’s nomination. If we don’t give legislators a lifetime term, why would we give it to a judge who acts like one?”
The FRC president said her nomination hasn’t gotten much attention — just as is the case with Obama’s agenda of packing the courts from top to bottom with more abortion advocates who will help keep abortion legal.
“President Obama doesn’t have to be reelected to stay in power. Regardless of what happens next November, this White House has already appointed men and women to carry on his legacy,” Perkins said. “These are Obama’s federal judges, whose purpose is to leave the President’s fingerprints on the country long after the administration is gone. Unlike the President, who is limited to four or eight years of authority, theirs is a permanent position of influence.”
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry also urged a no vote: “As New York Solicitor General, Caitlin Halligan used her liberal interpretation of the law to target pro-life Americans, gun owners, and gun manufacturers, and otherwise use the law as a liberal political tool. The last thing the American people need on the second highest court is another liberal judicial activist, like Ms. Halligan, who lacks respect for the U.S. Constitution.”
“The nomination of liberal activist Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals should be immediately withdrawn by the President. If the President refuses to withdraw this misguided nomination, the U.S. Senate should reject her appointment to the second-most powerful court in the country,” he said. “Halligan also filed an amicus brief in arguing that federal RICO laws should be used against pro-life groups. She repeatedly attempted to hijack the federal court system in order to impose her own political beliefs on the general public.”
Eagle Forum, another pro-life group, asked its members to contact senators to urge a no vote on her nomination.
“Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 6th, the Senate will hold a confirmation vote on yet another of President Obama’s radical liberal judicial nominees, Caitlin Halligan, nominated to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. We need you to call your Senators today and tell them to vote NO on Caitlin Halligan,” the group said, listing several concerns on other political issues.
The ACLJ, a pro-life legal group, is also opposed to Halligan’s nomination.
“As Christmas draws closer and Congress moves towards recess, there are several budgetary-related items that must get accomplished before the end-of-the-year. The holidays also means Congress begins a furious effort to move controversial items while fewer Americans are paying attention. This year, one such controversial item is the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the United States D.C. Circuit Court,” it said.
“By way of background, the D.C. Circuit Court is generally considered the second most powerful court (behind only the U.S. Supreme Court) in the nation. The D.C. Circuit Court plays a critical role in national security matters, has considerable regulatory review authority, and is frequently a springboard for judges that are later nominated to the Supreme Court (Justice Roberts was a D.C. Circuit Judge when nominated),” ACLJ added. “For all of these reasons and more, nominations to the D.C. Circuit are customarily considered with great deliberation and care. If fact, one need look no further than the previous nominations of Miguel Estrada and Peter Keisler to find examples of thoroughly qualified nominees who were vigorously opposed and ultimately defeated.”
“With this in mind, it is troubling when nominees of this significance – especially ones as controversial as Ms. Halligan – are considered during a truncated end-of-year time period. However, careful observation suggests that this is happening because Ms. Halligan’s record cannot withstand the rigorous examination that is typically required of nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court,” the ACLJ continued.
“Halligan seems to forget that it is not the role of the Judiciary to determine legislative consensus. That role belongs to the Legislative Branch, and Ms. Halligan’s insertion of the Judiciary into that process is cause for concern,” the organization said.