Senate Republicans Block Caitlin Halligan from D.C. Circuit Court Seat

Partisan obstruction prevents strong candidate from taking seat on understaffed court


Sean Helle, Earthjustice, (406) 581-7509


Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221

Today, Senate Republicans again blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan for a seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. It was the second time Republicans have filibustered Ms. Halligan, who President Obama first nominated to the court more than two years ago. In light of her strong qualifications, there was no justification for this obstructionism.

The D.C. Circuit is second only to the United States Supreme Court in its importance to the environment, public health, and many other issues. This court often determines whether Americans across the country have clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. The D.C. Circuit also is in the midst of an unprecedented vacancy crisis, with four of its 11 seats now sitting unfilled.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Vice President for Policy and Legislation Marty Hayden:

“With today’s vote, Senate Republicans betrayed a deeper commitment to partisanship and obstruction than justice and the rule of law.

“As the second-highest court in the land, the D.C. Circuit often provides the last word on whether Americans receive the full protection of our laws. Given the court’s current vacancy crisis, it is essential for the Senate to confirm highly qualified nominees like Caitlin Halligan. In blocking Halligan’s nomination, Senate Republicans have shown more interest in political gamesmanship than in the well-being of all Americans. In this instance, justice delayed is truly justice denied.”

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