Statement by the President on Republican Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Release Time: 

For Immediate Release

I am deeply disappointed that a minority of the United States Senate has blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Ms. Halligan has the experience, integrity, and judgment to serve with distinction on this court, and she has broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities.  But today, her nomination fell victim to the Republican pattern of obstructionism that puts party ahead of country. Today’s vote dramatically lowers the bar used to justify a filibuster, which had required “extraordinary circumstances.”  The only extraordinary things about Ms. Halligan are her qualifications and her intellect.

Currently, Senate Republicans are blocking 20 other highly qualified judicial nominees, half of whom I have nominated to fill vacancies deemed “judicial emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  These are distinguished nominees who, historically, would be confirmed without delay.  All of them have already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee – most of them unanimously – only to run into partisan roadblocks on the Senate floor.  The American people deserve a fair and functioning judiciary.  So I urge Senate Republicans to end this pattern of partisan obstructionism and confirm Ms. Halligan and the other judges they have blocked for purely partisan reasons.

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