Obama Pulls Court Nomination Blocked by Republicans

President Barack Obama withdrew his nomination of New York lawyer Caitlin Halligan to the nation’s second most influential appeals court after Republicans twice blocked a vote on her confirmation.

The nomination of Halligan, a former New York state solicitor general, has languished in the Senate since Obama chose her in September 2010 for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, considered second only to the U.S. Supreme Court in its legal influence.

Halligan would have filled the spot that Chief Justice John Roberts vacated after being nominated to the Supreme Court.

Republicans used a procedural maneuver known as a filibuster to block Halligan’s nomination. A Senate vote on March 6 to cut off the debate failed, with 51 votes in favor, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to end the filibuster.

Obama said in a statement e-mailed this afternoon that he is “deeply disappointed” by the “unjustified filibuster.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement that “had she received an up-or-down vote, I am certain she would have been confirmed.”

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