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Republicans, once again doing the bidding of their NRA overlords, have blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the seat on the appeals court for the D.C. Circuit formerly occupied by John Roberts with a 51-41 vote. Halligan has been waiting for confirmation since she was nominated by President Obama in the fall of 2010. The GOP has had lots of reasons to block her since she was nominated in 2010. This time around, they made it about guns.
But this time, her past legal battles against gun manufacturers are making the road harder for Halligan, whose nomination is opposed by the National Rifle Association.
“That’s probably the biggest of three or four issues,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said when asked about Halligan’s views on guns.
Grassley said he didn’t expect any Republicans to switch their votes to support Halligan or to support cloture. [...]
As solicitor general of New York in 2003, Halligan signed on to a case pursued in state court by Eliot Spitzer, then state attorney general, that gun manufacturers should be held liable for the use of their products by third parties.
Four out of 11 seats on the D.C. Circuit Court are vacant, hampering the ability of the court, but Republicans insist there's no urgent need to fill those seats. They're doing their damnedest to make all three branches of government dysfunctional. In response, Harry Reid is making noise again about consequences of breaking their commitment on filibuster reform.
“I think the Republicans better be very careful what they’re doing here,” Reid told reporters on Tuesday. “We have a situation where there was going to be agreement on judges except under extraordinary circumstances. There are no extraordinary circumstances with this woman.”
They filibustered Hagel. They filibustered Halligan. They have no intention of honoring the agreement. It's time for Reid to reopen filibuster reform.
[...] Today’s vote continues the Republican pattern of obstruction. My judicial nominees wait more than three times as long on the Senate floor to receive a vote than my predecessor’s nominees. The effects of this obstruction take the heaviest toll on the D.C. Circuit, considered the Nation’s second-highest court, which now has only seven active judges and four vacancies. Until last month, for more than forty years, the court has always had at least eight active judges and as many as twelve. A majority of the Senate agrees that Ms. Halligan is exactly the kind of person who should serve on this court, and I urge Senate Republicans to allow the Senate to express its will and to confirm Ms. Halligan without further delay.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 08:45 AM PST.