Last Friday, Caitlin Halligan, the highly qualified nominee to the D.C. Circuit who had been subjected to two filibusters, asked the President to withdraw her name. Despite her impeccable qualifications and the bipartisan support of her peers, the legal and law enforcement community, and numerous organizations across the country, and despite the fact that four out of the eleven seats on the D.C. Circuit are vacant, every Republican Senator except Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski refused to allow an up-or-down vote on her nomination.
It is certainly a terrible loss for those who want nominees of Caitlin Halligan’s caliber to sit on the federal bench, for those who recognize that courts like the D.C. Circuit cannot properly dispense justice with over one-third of their seats vacant, and for those who are waiting for the richness in the quality of justice which comes with federal courts that more closely resemble the diverse population of our country. It’s profoundly disappointing.