Senate Republicans on Tuesday filibustered the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, blocking the nominee President Obama chose last year to serve on one of the nation’s most powerful courts.
The final roll call vote on cutting off debate was 54 to 45. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined all 53 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to move ahead with Halligan’s nomination, leaving the former New York state solicitor general six votes short of the 60 needed to end debate.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who has never voted to filibuster a judicial nomination, voted “present.”
Obama said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the filibuster and argued that Halligan’s nomination “fell victim to the Republican pattern of obstructionism that puts party ahead of country.”
“Today’s vote dramatically lowers the bar used to justify a filibuster, which had required ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ ” Obama said. He charged that Senate Republicans “are blocking 20 other highly qualified judicial nominees” who “historically would be confirmed without delay.”