Controversial Obama Judicial Appointee Blocked by Senate Republicans

by Katrina Trinko

In a cloture vote today, Senate Republicans blocked Caitlin Halligan’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“Ms. Halligan’s record of advocacy and her activist view of the judiciary lead me to conclude that she would bring that activism to the court,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Halligan has come under fire especially for her views on guns. In a 2011 letter opposing her nomination, the NRA wrote:

Our opposition is based on Ms. Halligan’s attacks on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Specifically, she worked to undermine the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support. This legislation was critically important in ending a wave of lawsuits sponsored by anti-gun organizations and governments, which sought to blame firearms manufacturers and dealers for the criminal misuse of their products by third parties. This bill was an essential protection both for the Second Amendment rights of honest Americans and for the continued existence of the domestic firearms industry as a supplier of arms for our nation’s defense.

Among the governments that sued the industry was the state of New York. This case was pending while Ms. Halligan was New York’s solicitor general, and she strongly supported the litigation both inside and outside the courtroom.

Utah senator Mike Lee also criticized Halligan’s gun views in remarks today. “In 2003, while serving as Solicitor General of New York, Ms. Halligan approved and signed a legal brief arguing that handgun manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers should be held liable for criminal actions that individuals commit with the guns,” Lee said. “Three years later in 2006, Ms. Halligan filed another brief arguing that handgun manufacturers were guilty of creating a public nuisance.

“Such arguments amount to an invitation for courts to engage in sweeping judicial activism; and the positions she took are both bewildering and flatly inconsistent with the original understanding of the Second Amendment rights that all Americans enjoy,” he added.

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