Caitlin Halligan had one major fault in the eyes of the minority party in the United States Senate. She worked on lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association didn’t like her.
Caitlin was nominated twice by President Obama to serve as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
She was by all accounts highly qualified for the job. Halligan serves as general counsel in the Manhattan district attorney’s office and served as solicitor general for New York state.
That means she was the top lawyer representing the state of New York before its highest court. Last I checked that is one of the biggest states in the nation.
It appears that the Republicans are setting a new standard for judicial appointees. That standard has nothing to do with qualifications, personal integrity or professionalism it has to do with which business or interest group donates and supports your party.
Justice in America suffers from such corruption. In days past the minority party accepted that the President has a right to appoint judicial nominees who are competent and reflect his vision and philosophy. No longer is it the case that the court can be considered truly non-partisan if this is the way things are going in the future.
Appointment of Judges should be not subject to the Senate filibuster rules. In order to be appointed today a person needs 60 votes in the U.S. Senate. This rule encourages corrupt practices and influences. The NRA is an interest group representing gun manufacturers. Seems to me that taking that into account should pretty much discount entirely their opinion given they are on the other side of the law in a potential or active litigation with Mrs. Halligan’s client.
Its my view a criminal investigation needs to begin by the Department of Justice into whether or not the votes or actions of Republican Senators are tied to contributions made by the gun lobby and particularly the NRA. Buying votes is illegal. Buying votes to stop lawsuits is even more corrupting of our judicial system. Political retaliation such is obvious in the Halligan case could amount to obstruction of justice.
There is too little notice of the sly and slick quid pro quo deals involving votes in Congress for huge contributions by business organizations today. To an ordinary citizen like me it is all too obvious something is afoot.
I would like to see a grand jury look into this case to decide what business people and their lobbyists, who have a pending investigation against them, said to Senators who considered this nomination. Are they trying to obstruct justice by punishing a highly qualified woman seeking a seat on a very important court? Her only sin was doing her job as any lawyer would. That should not disqualify her from confirmation and holding judicial office.