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Rejection of D.C. Circuit nominee may shift judicial nomination practices

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans (with the exception of Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) voted against an up-or-down vote for President Obama's nominee Caitlin Halligan, chosen to fill one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The rejection of Halligan, general counsel with the New York County DA's office and former NYS solicitor general, is the second by the Senate who rejected Goodwin Liu's nomination to the 9th Circuit in May.

This raises an interesting question about the future of the judicial nomination process. Before a bi-partisan agreement was reached in 2005, there was a real legislative push mounting by Senate Republicans to eliminate the ability to filibuster judicial nominees. Will Senate Democrats now mount a similar effort? Will a new bi-partisan solution be reached? Or will the Obama Administration continue to face a Republican wall of opposition to its judicial nominees?

The WSJ states the following on the matter:

Again, in our estimation, all of this blocking is so much petty politics, the type of which both parties engage in regularly, to the detriment of the U.S. people. Call Republicans obstructionists, however, and they get defensive, arguing that Democrats did plenty to try to block Bush nominations. Ask Dems about the Bush years, and they'll refer to tactics taken up by Republicans under Clinton. And on and on -- all the way back, it seems, to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Robert Bork in 1987.

Yet, nearly a quarter-century later here we are: History proving, once again, to be a nightmare from which we have yet to awake.

What do you think about filibustering judicial nominees? Should there be a legislative fix? Let us know what you think on Twitter via #PoLforum

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.