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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Halligan cloture vote shows Republican senators are addicted to obstruction

UPDATE: AFJ President Nan Aron discusses the filibuster of Caitlin Halligan on the March 9 edition of MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes:

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In the previous post to this blog, we said that today's cloture vote on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit would tell us if Senate rules reform is for real.

A short time ago, we got the answer.  Here is AFJ President Nan Aron's statement concerning the defeat of the cloture motion:

Caitlin Halligan
Earlier this week, we urged Republican senators finally to put partisanship and obstruction aside and vote for cloture on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But it appears that urging Republican senators to rise above partisanship is like urging three-pack-a-day smokers to “just say no” to tobacco.

 Today, Republican Senators proved themselves to be addicted to obstruction, and utterly uninterested in putting the needs of the American people ahead of partisan posturing.

 As a result, for the second time in two years, Americans have been denied the services of a highly qualified nominee to serve on what is widely considered the nation’s second most important court.

There is no justification for this level of opposition.  Halligan’s nomination has strong bipartisan support, including endorsements from the National District Attorneys Association, the New York State Sheriff’s Association and two former assistants to Solicitors General under Republican administrations.  Her credentials are impeccable and she was rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association. 

 The vote today also makes clear that the recent agreement to ‘reform’ Senate rules really was no agreement at all, but rather a blank check for continued obstruction.  We believe the Senate majority needs to reconsider the terms of this agreement, and revisit serious rules reform.

One could argue that Caitlin Halligan was the victim of partisan obstruction, but it’s more than that: the American people are the victims.  Not only is a well-qualified nominee once again in limbo, the D.C. Circuit will continue to limp along with four of its 11 seats vacant.

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