Thursday, March 07, 2013

Why Are The Republicans Blocking Caitlin Halligan?


Senator Sessions (KKK-AL) knows what's best

Yesterday Dick Durbin puffed himself up and shook his fist at obstructionist Republicans giggling at him, while he made believe he would re-bring up filibuster reform if they don't stop gratuitous filibusters against President Obama's nominees. They won't stop and he won't get serious about filibuster reform. It's all typical senatorial bullshit. “I hate to suggest this, but if this is an indication of where we’re headed, we need to revisit the rules again. We need to go back to it again. I’m sorry to say it because I-- was hopeful that a bipartisan approach to dealing with these issues would work. It’s the best thing for this chamber, for the people serving here and the history of this institution. But if this Caitlin Halligan nomination is an indication of things to come, we’ve got to revisit the rules.” Sure. And with that Rand Paul started his filibuster, destined to fail, though it at least that one makes some sense, of John Brennan to head the CIA.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Pat Leahy seemed frustrated after the 51-41 cloture vote (Democrats needed 60 to shut down the filibuster) failed. It was the second time the obstructionist Republicans had filibustered Caitlin Halligan, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the only Republican to cross the aisle and support ending the filibuster. "Republican senators who were part of the Gang of 14 just a few years ago, others who said they would never filibuster a judicial nominee, those who said that they would only filibuster in extraordinary circumstances, and all those who insisted on pushing through President Bush’s most extreme ideological nominees have now all reversed themselves to the detriment of the courts and the country. Rather than debate the merits of her nomination and whether she has the legal ability, judgment, character, ethics, and temperament to serve on the court, Senate Republicans resorted to smearing her distinguished record of service and continued to raise a disingenuous argument about the D.C. Circuit’s caseload not being sufficiently heavy to justify another judge on the court... They have not been fair to this fine woman. I thank Senator Murkowski for remaining true to her principles and who distinguishes herself by doing so.”

In a press release, Leahy noted that "Senate Republicans have set a new and unreasonable standard for President Barack Obama’s nominees not applied to judicial nominees under the previous administration. By voting to block even floor debate of Halligan’s nomination today, Republicans have publicly vowed not to work to address the judicial vacancy crisis that plagues courts throughout the country. The D.C. Circuit is one-third vacant, and Halligan’s nomination would have filled a seat left open since 2006 when Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed to the Supreme Court." President Obama also issued a statement to the press-- also frustrated with ritual, childish Republican obstructionism.
I am deeply disappointed that despite support from a majority of the United States Senate, a minority of Senators continues to block the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Nearly two and a half years after being nominated, Ms. Halligan continues to wait for a simple up-or-down vote. In the past, filibusters of judicial nominations required “extraordinary circumstances,” and a Republican Senator who was part of this agreement articulated that only an ethics or qualification issue-- not ideology-- would qualify. Ms. Halligan has always practiced law with the highest ethical ideals, and her qualifications are beyond question.  Furthermore, her career in public service and as a law enforcement lawyer, serving the citizens of New York, is well within the mainstream.

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.
Remember, the Senate once rejected, with a bipartisan majority, the nomination for a federal judgeship of a notorious KKK supporter. That KKK supporter is now the junior senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions, and he led the Republican Party jihad against Halligan. He calls her mainstream positions "radical" and "extreme" because in his dark, claustrophobic KKK world mainstream positions have always been threatening and frightening. Besides, she's pro-Choice and the NRA has demanded that all their little pawns and shills in the Senate, like Sessions, oppose her. Anyone think this is a signal to Obama that when he nominates a Supreme Court judge to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it better not be anyone remotely progressive in their views? After the vote, the Washington Post editorial board expressed its dismay with the Republican Party obstructionist tactics in blocking the nomination. They insist she get a simple up-or-down vote in the Senate.
On Wednesday, Democrats tried to break the unjustifiable impasse. Once again, Republicans successfully filibustered, denying a qualified nominee a fair shot at a seat on the bench and leaving the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit short-staffed.

The GOP’s abuse of the filibuster is bad for the country, for many of the reasons Republicans were eager to spell out when Democrats unfairly blocked President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Since the last time Ms. Halligan faced a GOP filibuster, the D.C. Circuit has lost another judge, leaving four vacancies. Yet it is the forum for some of the nation’s weightiest legal disputes, involving a wide range of federal matters-- from Environmental Protection Agency regulations to detentions at the Guantanamo Bay naval base.

That, Republicans argue, is one reason to keep Ms. Halligan away from the bench: The D.C. Circuit is simply too important to offer an “activist” such as her a lifetime appointment. Among other things, they point to her time as solicitor general of New York, whenshe defended in appellate court a lawsuit that then-state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer had brought against gunmakers. New York lost its case. But her role in it says little about her views on the Second Amendment or whether she would be an activist judge in other areas. Mr. Spitzer was the one who decided to pursue that case. If it were fair to ascribe the views of clients to the lawyers who represent them, many members of Congress would no doubt have trouble explaining themselves.

Against the distorted view of Ms. Halligan’s record that Republicans have offered stand the endorsements of prominent legal minds both liberal and conservative, a unanimous well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association and a storied career in public service and private practice.

On balance, Ms. Halligan’s record doesn’t come close to justifying what should be an extraordinary resort, filibustering a judicial nominee. That’s a standard that not only we believe in; it’s also one endorsed in 2005 by a group of senators known as the “Gang of 14.” Yet three of those senators-- Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)-- voted to sustain Wednesday’s filibuster against Ms. Halligan.

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At 7:26 PM, Blogger murphy71 said...

I consider all these republicans to be out and out traitors. It is time to round of these traitors and put them on trial. They are a disgrace. Reid wants to preserve the right of the minority to have utmost consideration but these people have done nothing to deserve this consideration. Think where the country would be if Reid had pushed for filibuster reform at the beginning of President Obama's first term.

Please Harry do something to help our nation. Quit being a patsy.

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

TIME for Harry Reid to hang up his VERY OLD boxing gloves.
Credit where, do but he has rolled over too much lately and he certainly has to REGRET bending over on the Fillibuster reform. WTF?
Where's ME? FUCK him!

Time for a new Dick, Durban....


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