Concerns about Caitlin Halligan, D.C. Circuit Court of AppealsConfirmation Conversion
Caitlin Halligan has a well-documented record of advocating extreme liberal positions onconstitutional issues, including in cases – some before the Supreme Court – involvingterrorism, abortion, immigration, guns, same sex marriage, the death penalty, and affirmativeaction.
Yet, remarkably, at her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she testified thatoriginal intent was the preferred method of Constitutional interpretation, rejected staunchdeath penalty opponent William Brennan’s constitutional vision, rejected the idea that judicial doctrine should “incorporate the evolving understandings of the Constitution forgedthrough social movements, legislation, and historical practice,” and rejected the notion thatempathy should play a role in a judge’s consideration of a case.
When asked in follow-up questions whether she had ever before espoused such views, sheresponded,
“I do not recall expressing an opinion on this issue in the past.”
This is notsurprising, given her liberal, activist record and her support for the nomination of now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
War on Terror
Halligan’s views on the War on Terror and detention of enemy combatants are very troubling,especially given that the court she seeks to join – the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – has acrucial role in national security cases.
In March 2004, she signed a report issued by the Association of the Bar of the City of NewYork’s Committee on Federal Courts, titled “The Indefinite Detention of ‘EnemyCombatants’: Balancing Due Process and National Security in the Context of the War onTerror.”
The report embodies the sort of left-wing extremism that the courts haverejected and that the Obama administration has had to retreat from.
The report maintains that the congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF)
does not authorize indefinite detention of enemy combatants.
Not only hasthe Supreme Court held that it does in
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
, but the Obama administrationhas argued for a broad construction of that authority, and the D.C. Circuit (the very courtHalligan seeks to join), in a series of rulings joined by judges across its ideologicalspectrum, has adopted that broad construction.