Politico Avoids Explaining Why Republican Senators Stopped Halligan Circuit Court Nomination

March 24th, 2013 9:33 AM

In a brief item Friday at Politico, Donovan Slack reported that President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

Concerning Republican senators' opposition to her nomination, Slack said it was "because they said she had a record of advocacy and an activist view of the judiciary" without citing specifics. It's almost as if Slack knew he had to write something, but wished to keep a rare Republican success at stopping an objectionable court nominee as vague and quiet as possible. In early March, the folks at Eagle Forum compiled a useful list of how awful Halligan would have been had her appointment made it through the Senate (bolds are mine throughout this post):

"As Solicitor General of New York, Halligan wrote an opinion arguing for same sex marriage, even though the state's domestic law required that marriage licenses only be issued to opposite sex couples. Halligan declared that observing the statute as written raised, 'serious Constitutional concerns.'" -- In other words, she chose not to defend her state's law, even though that was her job.

"As New York’s Solicitor General, Halligan joined an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the National Organization of Women’s (NOW) suit attempting to use Civil racketeering charges to shut down abortion clinic protests nationwide. The importance of Halligan’s joining the amicus brief cannot be understated. One of the key purposes of the brief was to persuade the Court to rely on New York’s expanded definition of property and how property can be obtained through extortion, a point she hoped that the weight of her office as New York’s Solicitor General would carry. NOW’s and Halligan’s arguments were so radical, they were rejected by an 8-1 margin. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguably the Court’s most liberal Justice wrote, 'The court is rightly reluctant, as I see it, to extend RICO’s domain further by endorsing the expansive definition of extortion.'" -- Open hostility to First Amendment rights and open support of repression and property seizure is the last thing the nation needs to see just one step below the Supreme Court.

"Halligan has joined briefs supporting racial quotas at universities. Three out of four of the policies she supported were later declared unconstitutional."

"As the National Rifle Association declared in its letter of opposition to Halligan's confirmation as New York's Solicitor General, she strongly supported 'inside and outside the courtroom' the State of New York's activist efforts to sue gun manufacturers for crimes committed with guns. When Congress passed the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to protect manufacturers from such frivolous suits, Halligan signed onto a friend of the Court brief arguing that the law was unconstitutional."

"Halligan was a member of a bar committee that issued a report claiming it is unconstitutional for the United States to detain enemy combatants. During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Halligan tried to distance herself from this report; however, she also signed onto a friend of the court brief arguing the same conclusion in a case involving such detention."

"Halligan is a radical activist, who has viewed the federal court system as a vehicle for making, not interpreting, policy."


Concerning gun manufacturers, the Associated Press's Josh Lederman, in a nearly 900-word report, only acknowledged her involvement in the public nuisance assertion, and ignored the far more pertinent fact that she wanted to sue their pants off.

In a comment covered by Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner, New York Attorney General and disgraced former Empire State Governor Eliot Spitzer inadvertently gave away why Halligan's nomination had to be stopped:

Democrats denied that Halligan is a radical. “First of all, it is not fair to attribute to [Halligan] positions that she was asked to take as a lawyer, in an office where she represented the state of New York and the attorney general, namely me, and the substantive judgments I had to make,” former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, D-N.Y., said in 2011. “But second, the positions she took were mainstream, reasoned opinions and for the Republicans to filibuster her based upon them is simply wrong.”

Okay, Eliot. So Halligan was just doing her job working for you, but that really doesn't matter because the radical, statist positions she took are really "mainstream." The heck they are. If she had gotten through the Senate, we would have seen an Spitzer mini-me in the DC Circuit. Thank goodness we won't.

No wonder Slack at Politico was so brief and restrained. This is a fairly significant setback for the radical left during a time when they have been rare. 

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.