President Obama condemned today’s filibuster of Caitlin Halligan to the DC Circuit, the nation’s second most important court after the Supreme Court. He pointed out the hypocrisy of certain Republican senators who have abandoned the principles they claimed to have when George W. Bush was president, citing the 2005 "Gang of 14" agreement:
In the past, filibusters of judicial nominations required "extraordinary circumstances," and a Republican Senator who was part of this agreement articulated that only an ethics or qualification issue – not ideology – would qualify. Ms. Halligan has always practiced law with the highest ethical ideals, and her qualifications are beyond question. Furthermore, her career in public service and as a law enforcement lawyer, serving the citizens of New York, is well within the mainstream.
All three Republican members of the "Gang of 14" who are still in the Senate joined the filibuster to prevent a fair vote on Halligan: Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain.
President Obama went on:
My judicial nominees wait more than three times as long on the Senate floor to receive a vote than my predecessor’s nominees. The effects of this obstruction take the heaviest toll on the D.C. Circuit, considered the Nation’s second-highest court, which now has only seven active judges and four vacancies.
It is critical to fill all four of these vacancies as soon as possible.