Obama Withdraws Radical Judicial Activist Nominee
By Matthew Vadum
President Obama suffered a major political defeat last week when he was forced to withdraw the nomination of a radical New York lawyer to an important federal appeals court. More than a mere political win for Republicans, the withdrawal is an important victory against the Left’s gun control agenda and has prevented an anti-Second Amendment jurist from getting closer to the Supreme Court.
With the chattering classes now opining nonstop about two same sex marriage-related cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, you may not have heard that the president nixed the nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan to the critical District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The circuit court hears many cases dealing with the reach of the federal government and is viewed by some as a stepping-stone to an appointment to the Supreme Court.
Conservatives viewed the twice-filibustered Halligan as radical largely because of her open hostility to gun rights.
Halligan bragged about her opposition to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which was enacted to stop Second Amendment opponents’ efforts to deliberately bankrupt gun manufacturers through baseless litigation. In 2003 she admitted playing a role in state lawsuits that sought to take the extraordinary step of holding gun makers liable for criminal acts committed using handguns.
“These lawsuits specifically targeted gun manufacturers for liability similarly ludicrous to holding a manufacturer of scissors liable for the foolish, careless, or malicious actions of people who injured others (or themselves) with a pair of scissors,” according to Judicial Action Group.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the idea that gun manufacturers could be held legally responsible for criminal acts committed with the weapons they make was a “dubious legal theory.”
Of course Halligan’s disdain for the Bill of Rights made her an ideal judicial nominee for the Obama administration which has been on an anti-gun crusade since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.
This past Friday the president said he was “deeply disappointed that even after nearly two and a half years, a minority of senators continued to block a simple up-or-down vote on her nomination.”
Halligan was filibustered twice by Republican lawmakers who denounced her as a dangerous would-be activist judge. On March 6, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate on the nomination, voting 51 to 41 to move to a confirmation vote. The vote not to advance the nomination came after the Senate previously voted 54 to 45 in December 2011 not to allow a floor vote on Halligan’s appointment.
Because Halligan had already been defeated in two votes, “it would have been a slap in the face to the Senate” for Obama to continue pursuing the nomination, Curt Levey, president of a good-government group called Committee for Justice, told this writer in an interview.
Even without the judgeship, Halligan still has opportunities to corrupt the minds of the young by teaching a constitutional law seminar as a member of Columbia Law School’s adjunct faculty.
Predictably, her judicial clerkships leaned left. She was law clerk to Judge Patricia M. Wald of the D.C. Circuit. Wald has since retired and now chairs the Criminal Justice Initiative of George Soros’s Open Society Institute. She also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
The Halligan implosion comes as new polls suggest the American people are tiring of President Obama’s anti-gun hysterics.
Although public support for stricter gun control laws climbed to 57 percent after the attack in Newtown, it has since plummeted to just 47 percent, according to a CBS News poll.
The poll was released a week after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would remove language banning so-called assault weapons from pending gun control legislation.
By preventing Halligan from ascending to the D.C. Circuit Court, Democrats have been deprived of an activist judge through whom they would impose their anti-Second Amendment agenda on an increasingly unsympathetic American public.