Obama withdraws Halligan nomination for D.C. circuit court

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

The White House on Friday afternoon announced the withdrawal of lawyer Caitlin Halligan's nomination for circuit judge for the District of Columbia, a move that will be cheered by Senate Republicans who have worked for years to block her nomination.

"Today, I accepted Caitlin Halligan’s request to withdraw as a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. I am deeply disappointed that even after nearly two and a half years, a minority of senators continued to block a simple up-or-down vote on her nomination. This unjustified filibuster obstructed the majority of senators from expressing their support. I am confident that with Caitlin’s impressive qualifications and reputation, she would have served with distinction," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

The White House's decision follows Senate Republicans' latest filibuster of Halligan's nomination on March 6.

Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have rejected Halligan's nomination based in part on her current role as general counsel for the New York County District Attorney's Office. Opponents accuse Halligan of launching politically motivated efforts to bankrupt gun manufacturers through the legal system.

But Democrats say Republicans are stalling on appointments to the D.C. Circuit court simply to reduce the president's influence on the court, which Obama described on Friday as the nation's second highest.

The White House and other Democrats have noted that when Halligan was filibustered in 2011—the first year she was nominated—some Republicans objected to her nomination due to what they said was the court's light workload, an argument Democrats use to suggest Republicans are inventing new reasons for opposition.

The court currently has four vacancies, which Obama said on Friday is "more vacancies than any other circuit court" in the country.