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Public Statements

Health Care

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I rise today to vigorously support the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Halligan is an exceptionally qualified nominee, and the D.C. Circuit needs her. I urge all my Senate colleagues to join me in voting for her.

The breadth and depth of Ms. Halligan's legal experience and expertise are very impressive. After law school, she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and for Judge Patricia Wald on the D.C. Circuit, the court to which she has been nominated. She continued her public service as the solicitor general of the State of New York for 6 years, spent some time in the private sector, and is currently general counsel at the New York County District attorney's office, an office that investigates and prosecutes 100,000 criminal cases annually in Manhattan. Throughout her career, Ms. Halligan has served as counsel of record in nearly 50 matters before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing five cases before that court and many cases before Federal and State appellate courts. Her legal and oral advocacy training is as extensive as any nominee that the Senate has confirmed.

One of the reasons I wanted to speak about Ms. Halligan today is because her reputation precedes her. The American Bar Association's nonpartisan standing committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously rated Ms. Halligan ``well-qualified'' to serve on the D.C. Circuit, the highest possible rating. Messages of support for her nomination have poured in from hundreds of female law school deans and professors, former U.S. Supreme Court clerks and current judges, preeminent lawyers across the political spectrum from Ronald Reagan's solicitor general to the legendary D.A. Robert Morgenthau, and law enforcement associations. Put simply, this woman has proven herself to be worthy of our vote and the public's trust.

But there is another reason we must confirm Ms. Halligan today: the unacceptable delay in her nomination is causing a growing gap in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Halligan was first nominated by President Obama three years ago. Now, this important court in our country--often called ``the second most important court in our land'' because of the high profile, complex cases it handles--is one-third vacant. The caseload for the existing judges is growing, and justice is being held up.

Finally, if confirmed, Caitlin Halligan would become only the sixth female judge in the D.C. Circuit's 120-year history, a change I would certainly welcome for this important court. We need to continue building on the important legacy of diversity and inclusion that President Obama has established by nominating record numbers of women to the Federal bench. Thanks to his leadership, women today make up roughly 30 percent of the Federal judgeships at every level for the first time in history: in trial courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court. This diversity bolsters the legitimacy of our court system, and the public's confidence in it. We should continue this progress by confirming Ms. Halligan.

For all these reasons, I look forward to voting for Caitlin Halligan's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. Let's fulfill our constitutional obligation to keep our judicial system working efficiently and fairly for the American people.

I note the absence of a quorum.


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