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Health Care

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I thank the Senator for allowing me to go for 3 minutes here before he has the next turn. I appreciate that.

I come to the floor as some of our colleagues have done already, and we just heard from the great Senator from New York, to discuss the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court. Caitlin Halligan is currently the General Counsel at the New York County District Attorney's Office. New York County is just another name for Manhattan, so we are talking about a big county and a big office. In fact, it handles about 100,000 criminal cases each year.

Before that, she was Solicitor General of the State of New York for 6 years and the head of the appellate practice at a major law firm. She also clerked on both the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court and has argued five cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. That is a resume.

The nonpartisan American Bar Association committee that reviews every Federal judicial nominee gave Halligan its highest possible rating, and over 100 women law professors and deans wrote a letter saying Halligan is exceptionally qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. There is no question that she has the experience, ability, and intellect to sit on the Federal bench.

It is also important to recognize that she is not an ideological or partisan nominee. Well-known lawyer Carter Phillips, who was assistant to the Solicitor General in the Reagan administration, has said that Halligan is ``one of those extremely smart, thoughtful, measured and effective advocates'' and that she would be a ``first-rate judge.''

Phillips is not the only conservative lawyer to endorse Halligan. For example, Miguel Estrada signed a letter from 21 prominent attorneys which stated that Halligan ``brings reason, insight and judgment to all matters'' and ``would serve with distinction and fairness.''

Given support like that from people such as Miguel Estrada, I don't think it can be said that Halligan is an extreme ideologue or that she is outside the mainstream of legal thought. Her nomination should not and cannot be blocked.

This is a great candidate who will make a great judge. As New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said about her, she ``possesses the three qualities important for a nominee: Intelligence, a judicial temperament and personal integrity.''

She must be confirmed without delay. Filibusters are about debating issues. This is an individual. We cannot amend her. We simply have to decide whether she is qualified to be on the bench. There is absolutely no doubt. People may not agree with every single thing she said. I don't think anyone in this Chamber agrees with every single thing that judges have said or that people we put on the Supreme Court have said, but we simply came together and stood up for one principle, that our job is to decide if someone is qualified, if they can do the job, if they can interpret the law. This candidate can do it and she can do it well. If Senators ultimately wish to oppose her nomination, fine, that is their choice. But they should not filibuster an extremely qualified candidate. Let her have an up-or-down vote.

I yield the floor.

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