Yesterday in a vote of 54 to 45, almost entirely along party lines, Senate Republicans filibustered Caitlin Joan Halligan, one of President Obama’s nominees for the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. After Halligan was nominated 14 months ago to fill Chief Justice John Roberts’ vacated seat, there was an eight month delay before her nomination was approved by the Senate Judicial Committee.” Halligan formerly served as the Solicitor-General of New York.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated, “Senate Republicans today sent the sad message that political gamesmanship is more important than a judicial nominee’s qualifications… I am concerned that today the Senate is backing away from the 2005 agreement that the minority would only block judicial nominees in extraordinary circumstances. Since Ms. Halligan’s nomination clearly does not meet that standard, Republicans today lowered the bar for filibustering judicial nominees.”
Despite President Obama’s dedication to increasing the gender, racial and ethnographic diversity of those serving as federal judges, his judicial nominations have been blocked more than any other president. National Council of Jewish Women President Linda Slucker and CEO Nancy Kaufman remarked in their joint statement, “NCJW continues to be alarmed by the failure of the Senate to act in a timely fashion to fill judicial vacancies. The judicial emergencies mounting across the country make real the warning that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.'”
Republican Senators are either putting holds on appointments or threatening to filibuster or actually filibustering Obama’s judicial appointments at an historic rate. Only 97 of President Obama’s 155 judicial nominees have been confirmed. President Obama’s rate of judicial confirmations is only 62.6 percent, compared with George W. Bush’s rate of 86.8 percent and Bill Clinton’s rate of 84.2 percent.
Statement of the National Women’s Law Center 12/6/11; National Council of Jewish Women Statement 12/6/11; Statement of Harry Reid 12/6/11; PFAW Statement 12/6/11; Washington Times 12/6/11