GOP blocks Halligan’s nomination to DC circuit court

GOP members expressed concern that her views were too “extreme” on gun control, abortion and terrorist detention, but Democrats said those were the views of her clients, not Halligan's.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Halligan would be an “activist judge.”

“Because of her record of activism, giving Ms. Halligan a lifetime appointment on the D.C. circuit is a bridge too far,” McConnell said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that those "misrepresenting" Halligan as an “ideological crusader” were wrong.

Democrats said Republicans have set a bad precedent, since during rules negotiations just two months ago they promised not to block nominations unless there were “extraordinary circumstances.”

“If this is an indication of where we’re headed, we need to revisit the rules again,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.

Schumer said that Republicans failed to prove “extraordinary circumstances” in their objection to Halligan.

“The desire to actually filibuster Caitlin Halligan is really causing a lot of consternation on our side. Clearly this is a judge that deserves a vote,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Wearing the wrong color tie or blouse could be an ‘extraordinary circumstance.’ ”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the GOP filibuster “naked partisanship.”

“If a truly exceptional candidate such as Caitlin Halligan isn’t qualified to be a judge in the United States of America, I don’t know who is,” Reid said.

Reid voted against the cloture motion as a procedural move so that he can later bring up Halligan's nomination again.

Republicans pointed to a legal briefing she signed that questioned the legality of detaining suspected terrorist as enemy combatants. 

“We have before us one of the most activist nominees,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said. “She has an activist judicial philosophy and is simply not qualified to sit on the judicial bench.”