Caitlin Halligan is Obama’s nominee for a seat on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She formerly served as Solicitor General for the State of New York from 2001 until 2007 under then-NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. Her nomination is being filibustered in the Senate due to her leftist views on abortion and gun rights. Tomorrow, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling for a cloture (end of debate) vote on Halligan’s confirmation.
Pravda on the Potomac aka the Washington Post has endorsed her. Meanwhile, the Joyce-funded Media Matters for America is trying to say that Halligan’s anti-gun rights actions were in the past and now she supports the Second Amendment. I seem to remember that the “Wise Latina” Justice Sonya Sotomayor made similar comments during her confirmation battle and then dissented on the McDonald case.
Accordingly, the NRA-ILA released this letter that was sent today to every senator.
December 5, 2011
I am writing to express the National Rifle Association’s opposition to the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Our opposition is based on Ms. Halligan’s attacks on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Specifically, she worked to undermine the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support. This legislation was critically important in ending a wave of lawsuits sponsored by anti-gun organizations and governments, which sought to blame firearms manufacturers and dealers for the criminal misuse of their products by third parties. This bill was an essential protection both for the Second Amendment rights of honest Americans and for the continued existence of the domestic firearms industry as a supplier of arms for our nation’s defense.
Among the governments that sued the industry was the state of New York. This case was pending while Ms. Halligan was New York’s solicitor general, and she strongly supported the litigation both inside and outside the courtroom.
Ms. Halligan represented the state in its 2001 lawsuit against numerous gun manufacturers, in which the state argued that the legal sale of handguns created a “public nuisance” under state law. In a 2003 speech while that case was pending, Ms. Halligan claimed that the PLCAA “would likely cut off at the pass any attempt by States to find solutions—through the legal system or their own state legislatures—that might reduce gun crimes or promote greater responsibility among gun dealers.” That statement was simply wrong. The legislation then under debate—like the version that finally passed two years later—only prohibited lawsuits “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition by third parties. It exempted traditional tort actions against gun makers. The bill most certainly did not restrict the actions of state legislatures, as the introduction of numerous anti-gun bills in the New York legislature proves each year.
Ms. Halligan also claimed the PLCAA “would make the gun industry the only industry in the country to be so broadly shielded from lawsuits.” In fact, Congress had previously passed targeted liability protection for many industries and other enterprises, ranging from aircraft manufacturers to food banks to makers of medical implants.
After passage of the PLCAA, Ms. Halligan participated in the legal attack on the PLCAA. The state filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit supporting New York City’s attack on the law’s constitutionality. The arguments in that brief were ultimately rejected by the Second Circuit, as they have been by every other appellate court (and every federal court at any level) that has considered the issue.
Given Ms. Halligan’s clear opposition to a major federal law that was essential to protecting law-abiding Americans’ right to keep and bear arms, as well as an important industry that equips our military and law enforcement personnel, we must respectfully oppose her confirmation, including the vote on cloture.
We greatly appreciate your attention to our concerns. If you have any questions, please contact NRA Federal Affairs at (202) 651-XXXX.
Chris W. Cox
NRA Institute for Legislative Action
The Gun Owners of American is also standing strong against the confirmation of Halligan and has issued an alert to their members that says in part:
As New York’s solicitor general, Halligan was one of the chief lawyers responsible for New York’s baseless and politically motivated efforts to bankrupt gun manufacturers using frivolous litigation. In so doing, Halligan proved that she places liberal political activism above fealty to the law.
Halligan’s public hatred for firearms was only matched by her zealotry inside the courtroom. In a speech on May 5, 2003, Halligan called for “handgun manufacturers [to be held] liable for criminal acts committed with handguns.”
Certainly, no other manufacturer of another item — whether it be cars, baseball bats, or anything else — would be held liable for the criminal misuse of its product. And, as Halligan well knows, the application of that principle to firearms would surely eliminate the manufacture of firearms in America.
After attempts of legal extortion of the firearms industry were repudiated by a bipartisan vote in Congress, Halligan’s office did not let up on attacking gun rights, signing a brief calling for New York courts to declare the federal Gun Makers’ Protection Act unconstitutional.
Finally, Halligan, in written testimony submitted to the Senate in connection with her nomination, attempted to conceal the extent of her anti-gun animus.
Halligan’s failure to provide information that would clarify her statements, thus keeping her testimony from being misleading, constitutes “fraud” against the Senate. As such, the only role she should play in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is the role of a defendant.
But, of course, none of this matter to Harry Reid. He already did his part getting two strident anti-gun Obama judges onto the Supreme Court, and now he’s doing what he can to pack the Appeals Courts with radical leftists as well.
We have to stop this Reid/Obama court-packing scheme. Please act now, as the vote is scheduled for this Tuesday.
To facilitate contacting your state’s senators, GOA has set up a CapWiz letter generator that will send either an email or printed letter to them. It can be found here and I would urge you to select “by email” as the vote is tomorrow.
In an interesting coincidence, Halligan graduated in the same law school class (Georgetown University Law Center, 1995) as Alan Gura. I would have to say that Gura was more successful in his advocacy for the Second Amendment than Halligan was in her attempt to sue the firearms industry out of business and we can all be thankful for that.