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After Halligan Filibuster, “Gang Of 14” Deal Dead and Judiciary at Risk

December 6, 2011

With vacancy crisis on the federal bench, partisan war over the courts escalates

Washington, DC – Following today’s Senate filibuster of the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – continuing an unbroken streak of 888 days that the federal judiciary has labored under 80 or more judicial vacancies – Constitutional Accountability Center released the following statement:

CAC President Doug Kendall said, “Any idea that the Halligan nomination was somehow an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ is a bad joke. The only things extraordinary about Caitlin Halligan are her credentials and fitness for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. With today’s filibuster, the ‘Gang of 14’ deal on judicial nominations is officially dead and the partisan war over the courts has escalated to a dangerous new level, even while the vacancy rate on the federal judiciary has reached a crisis point.”

“Let me be clear: Senate Republicans blocked a supremely qualified nominee today,” Kendall continued. “Halligan is a lawyer's lawyer. She clerked for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, she has a long and distinguished record of service in New York, and she has support across party lines – including from former George W. Bush nominee Miguel Estrada. She is an exemplary nominee, supported by a majority of Senators. She was first nominated in 2010, and she should have been sitting on the D.C. Circuit by now.”

CAC Vice President Judith E. Schaeffer said, “Today’s vote was simply political obstruction at its worst. It is clear that today’s filibuster had nothing do with the well-qualified Halligan, but instead was about conservatives engaging in rank partisanship to prevent President Obama from putting anyone on the D.C. Circuit, period.”



“A Note to Senator Grassley: Ten < Eleven,” Judith E. Schaeffer, March 11, 2011

CAC Letter In Support of Caitlin Halligan’s Nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit, March 17, 2011

“D.C. Circuit Nominee Caitlin Halligan to Argue Before U.S. Supreme Court on Monday,” Judith E. Schaeffer, March 18, 2011

“A Quick Win for D.C. Circuit Nominee Caitlin Halligan’s Client, As Supreme Court Disposes of Case in A Week,” Judith E. Schaeffer, March 29, 2011

“Senatorial Discourtesy?” Judith E. Schaeffer, April 5, 2011

“Will the Slow Pace of Judicial Confirmations Make 80 Vacancies the New Normal?” Constitutional Accountability Center, August 4, 2011

“An Updated Note to Senator Grassley re Caitlin Halligan: Nine < Ten < Eleven,” Judith E. Schaeffer, December 2, 2011 

“Why can't Ed Whelan take "yes" for an answer?” Doug Kendall, December 2, 2011

“D.C. Circuit Nominee Caitlin Halligan -- A Model of Legal Restraint,” Judith E. Schaeffer, December 3, 2011 


Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution's text and history.