Halligan Nomination for Appeals Court Advanced by Panel

Caitlin Halligan, a nominee for what is widely regarded as the nation’s second most influential court, was among judicial appointees of President Obama advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

There are four openings on the 11-member U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Halligan, general counsel of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, is a longterm nominee for one of the seats. Halligan initially was nominated in 2011, and Republican resistance has sent her nomination back to the White House more than once.

The Judiciary Committee supported her nomination 10-8 on Thursday, following party lines, according to a Blog of Legal Times post. In the past, she has faced opposition from gun rights advocates (see Gavel Grab), and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell also criticized her positions on detainee rights and immigration.

“Ms. Halligan has the experience, integrity, and judgment to serve with distinction on this court, which now stands more than a third vacant,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday. “Her broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities should lead to swift confirmation.”

At the editorial page editor’s blog in the New York Times, Lincoln Caplan wrote favorably about Halligan’s credentials. A Legal Newsline article said that after the the initial committee vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., switched his vote from “no” to “present.”

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