Categorized | Senate News Briefing

Senate Republicans Block Controversial Obama Judicial Nominee With Troubling Views On Gun Rights, Terrorism

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) forced a cloture vote on President Obama’s nominee to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Caitlin Halligan. Senate Republicans opposed her confirmation, and the vote failed, 54-45.


Unfortunately, Halligan has a controversial record with activist views on the 2nd Amendment and the War on Terror. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained, “In Ms. Halligan’s view, the courts aren’t so much a forum for the even-handed application of the law as a place where a judge can work out his or her own idea of what society should look like. As she once put it, the courts are a means to achieve ‘social progress’, with judges presumably writing the script.”


Leader McConnell pointed out, “On the Second Amendment: As solicitor general of New York, Ms. Halligan advanced the dubious legal theory that those who make firearms should be liable for third parties who misuse them criminally.” In a 2003 decision discussing her theory, the New York court of Appeals wrote that her complaint, on behalf of then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, “claims that illegally possessed handguns are a common-law public nuisance.” But the Court dismissed the idea, saying, “The New York Court of Appeals has never recognized a common-law public nuisance cause of action based on allegations like those in this complaint. Moreover, other jurisdictions have dismissed public nuisance claims against firearms manufacturers on similar or other grounds… In light of the foregoing, we believe it is legally inappropriate, impractical and unrealistic to mandate that defendants undertake, and the courts enforce, unspecified measures urged by plaintiff in order to abate the conceded availability and criminal use of illegal handguns.”


In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the NRA opposed Halligan’s nomination writing, “Our opposition is based on Ms. Halligan’s attacks on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Specifically, she worked to undermine the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support. This legislation was critically important in ending a wave of lawsuits sponsored by anti-gun organizations and governments, which sought to blame firearms manufacturers and dealers for the criminal misuse of their products by third parties. . . . After passage of the PLCAA, Ms. Halligan participated in the legal attack on the PLCAA. The state [of NY] filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit supporting New York City’s attack on the law’s constitutionality. The arguments in that brief were ultimately rejected by the Second Circuit, as they have been by every other appellate court (and every federal court at any level) that has considered the issue.”


On terrorism issues, Halligan joined a New York City Bar Association report arguing, “[C]riminal prosecutions in the federal courts … should be the preferred forum for future terrorism cases.” She also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the terrorist Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, who, according to the AP, “admitted he trained in al Qaeda camps and stayed in al Qaeda safe houses in Pakistan between 1998 and 2001 . . . [and] also admitted meeting and having regular contact with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and with Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, who allegedly helped the Sept. 11 hijackers with money and Western-style clothing.” In her brief, Halligan argued that the president did not have the authority to detain Al-Marri under the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force. But, Leader McConnell pointed out, “In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, that the President has the legal authority to detain as enemy combatants individuals who are associated with AQ.  Yet despite this ruling, Ms. Halligan filed an amicus brief years later arguing that the President did not possess this legal authority.”


As he concluded, “The point here is that even in cases where the law was perfectly clear, or the courts had already spoken, including the Supreme Court, Ms. Halligan chose to get involved anyway, using arguments that had already been rejected either by the courts, the legislature, or, in the case of frivolous claims against the gun manufacturers, by both. In other words, Ms. Halligan has time and again sought to push her own views over and above those of the courts or those of the people, as reflected in the law. Ms. Halligan’s record strongly suggests that she wouldn’t view a seat on the U.S. Appeals Court as an opportunity to adjudicate, even-handedly, disputes between parties based on the law, but instead as an opportunity to put her thumb on the scale in favor of whatever individual or group or cause she happens to believe in. We shouldn’t be putting activists on the bench.”

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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