Skip to main content

John Cornyn and Ted Cruz Filibuster Caitlin Halligan

Over the past week, you have called, messaged, and made your voice heard. We asked you to urge Senators Cornyn and Cruz to support Caitlin Halligan. Sadly, our Senators put party politics ahead of the people of Texas. The U.S. Senate failed to reach enough votes to achieve cloture for Caitlin Halligan, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – widely considered the second most important court in the country, after the Supreme Court. Texas Senators each voted against Halligan, leaving the court with four vacancies. Some have even gone as far as to speculate this was obstructionism for the sake of the gun lobby and the NRA. 

John Cornyn and Ted Cruz stopped what would have been the 6th woman in 119 years to sit on the D.C. Circuit Court. Our Texas Senators had the opportunity to put a qualified candidate and a talented legal mind on the second most powerful court in the country. Their obstructionism is unparalleled and because of that, there will continue to be four vacancies in this critical court. Worse than that, of all the current sitting judges on this powerful bench, there will continue to be 11 men and only 3 women.  

President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on today's fillibuster. 

I am deeply disappointed that despite support from a majority of the United States Senate, a minority of Senators continues to block the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Nearly two and a half years after being nominated, Ms. Halligan continues to wait for a simple up-or-down vote.   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.

Today’s vote continues the Republican pattern of obstruction.  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.  Until last month, for more than forty years, the court has always had at least eight active judges and as many as twelve.  A majority of the Senate agrees that Ms. Halligan is exactly the kind of person who should serve on this court, and I urge Senate Republicans to allow the Senate to express its will and to confirm Ms. Halligan without further delay.

Sounds a lot like what John Cornyn said before he was on Cruz control and before he was a part of the Republican Senate leadership. It's time for our elected officials to end the partisan games and start working. There are currently 6 vacancies in Texas, 2 on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and 4 on the D.C. Circuit Court. Both of our Senators are on the Senate Judiciary Committee and both can make a difference if they chose to.