As part of their ongoing war on guns, Senate Democrats are planning to push confirmation of Caitlin Halligan to the DC Court of Appeals. A Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News that she’s the “most anti-Second Amendment nominee” Obama has ever put forward.
The aide told Breitbart News that Halligan’s advocacy against the Second Amendment goes back to her record as New York State’s Solicitor General. “This is part of the Democrats’ crusade against the Second Amendment,” the GOP aide said.
In a May 5, 2003 speech, Halligan revealed that she played a role in lawsuits against firearms manufacturers in which authorities were attempting to hold them accountable for crimes committed with firearms. Her comments came in the context of bashing the then-pending Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
“If enacted, this legislation would nullify lawsuits brought by nearly 30 cities and counties -including one filed by my office–as well as scores of lawsuits brought by individual victims or groups harmed by gun violence,” Halligan said. “Such an action would likely cut off at the pass any attempt by States to find solutions – through the legal system or their own legislatures – that might reduce gun crime or promote greater responsibility among gun dealers.”
In late 2011, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered Halligan’s nomination for the same slot. After her nomination failed, President Obama re-nominated her in mid-2012. That nomination timed out at the end of the 112th Congress and Obama re-nominated her again in early 2013.
When she was first up for nomination, she was asked, given the context of her speech, whether there was any basis in the law for holding gun manufacturers liable for crimes. She deflected the question.
“At the time [I gave the speech], the Attorney General [of New York Eliot Spitzer] was pursuing a common law action against a number of gun manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers,” Halligan responded in writing to Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. “That lawsuit was dismissed on legal grounds by a New York State intermediate appellate court. In light of the New York state court’s decision, there is no basis in New York law for holding firearm manufactures liable for crimes in which a handgun is used. I am not familiar with the laws of any other state or federal law, and have no basis for an opinion regarding any such claims that might be brought in other jurisdictions.”
But Senate Republicans believe she was likely far more involved in the lawsuits against gun manufacturers than she has admitted. She signed onto a 2003 Plaintiffs-Appellates brief in the lawsuit Spitzer brought against handgun manufacturers on behalf of the people of New York, for example.
Senate Republicans may filibuster Halligan’s nomination again. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he “would hope” her nomination is filibustered but “can’t predict” anything until there’s a whip count.
“We think she’s an activist, we think she’s got gun problems,” Grassley told Roll Call.
An unnamed GOP senator told Roll Call, too, that they expect the need for a cloture vote–a 60 vote threshold–to get Halligan through. It is unclear if Republicans will hold the line on Halligan.