Reservation of Leader Timeby Senator John McCain
Posted on 2013-03-06
McCAIN. Mr. President, I regret that I must oppose cloture on the
nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia. During the 109th Congress, I joined 13 of my
Senate colleagues to negotiate a compromise as part of an effort to
avoid use of the so-called nuclear option to break an organized
filibuster on judicial nominations. A tenet of that agreement was the
right of ``signatories to exercise their responsibilities under the
Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good
faith.'' Further, the agreement went on to state that ``nominees should
be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances, and each
signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in
determining whether such circumstances exist.''
In keeping with the 2005 agreement, I have decided to oppose the
President's nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia. Ms. Halligan's demonstrated
record of judicial activism on issues ranging from holding firearm
manufacturers liable for the crimes of third parties, to arguments
regarding National Labor Relations Board authorities, to her record on
the detention of enemy combatants, indicates to me that her activist
record would only continue if granted the privilege of sitting on the
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
It is for these reasons and others that I believe Ms. Halligan meets the ``extraordinary circumstances'' requirement expressed in the agreement. An important constitutional responsibility of the executive branch and the U.S. Senate is to ensure that the Federal bench is able to handle its caseload expeditiously. In my view, we should only oppose cloture in extraordinary circumstances. Unfortunately, I believe this nominee meets that requirement, and my vote to oppose is consistent with the agreement made in 2005.