Monday, December 5, 2011

Caitlin Halligan may be unfit to be a judge

Caitlin Joan Halligan has been nominated by President Barack Obama to fill a federal judicial vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit - the second highest court in the US. This makes this nomination especially sensitive.

All reports that I’ve seen indicate that Halligan possesses all the skills and knowledge to qualify her as a judge. However professional competence is only part of a judge’s job. Fidelity to the judicial oath of office -- defense of the Constitution -- is a key to determining whether a candidate is fit to be a judge.

Regarding previous presidential nominees, I have pointed out that it is essential that all federal nominees be examined closely to determine their loyalty to the US Constitution. This is especially true for the Supreme Court and for the DC Circuit. A judgeship on the DC Circuit is often a stepping-stone for appointment to the US Supreme Court.

It is extremely unfortunate that, since the virtual political assassination of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, presidents have typically avoided nominating judicial candidates who have written or ruled on controversial issues or high-profile cases. In other words, nominees have not been tested. Halligan is one of those unknowns.

In my research, I found one issue that concerns me: While solicitor general for the state of New York, Halligan initiated a lawsuit to hold gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed using illegally obtained guns. Halligan's scheme to annihilate the firearms industry with senseless lawsuits clearly shows she is willing to put her liberal ideology above the law and justice. But most importantly, she put her liberal ideology above the Constitution.

No judge must allow ideology influence his/her judgment. Instead, every judge must use the Constitution to guide his/her decisions. Not flawed judicial precedents. Not foreign law. Not ideology. Not politics. Halligan must be examined to determine whether she is capable of putting her personal and political ideals aside -- and clearly willing to do so without hesitation. The court is no place for political agendas. Politics must be confined to the legislative branch and the administration.

The authors of the US Constitution wisely provided for Senate confirmation of all presidential nominees. The purpose of this process is to protect the US Constitution and the liberties it guarantees from an activist and power-hungry administration and from activist judges. Therefore, Senators must make all decisions regarding presidential appointees based not only on the nominee's professional qualifications but more importantly on his/her respect for the Constitution.

On taking office, every Senator takes the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Senators do not take an oath to any political ideology, political party, party leader, king, or president. They take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." In recent decades -- and especially during the current administration -- the Senate has done a horrible job in protecting the US Constitution because Senators make their decisions based on political ideology -- not the nominee's qualification and his/her potential effect on liberty.

Clearly, the Senate must expedite confirmation of presidential nominees who have a solid record of applying the original intent of the Constitution and halt consideration of all nominees from any administration who do not respect the rule of law or who are hostile to any individual liberty guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Compromise is giving in to the enemies of liberty. There must be no compromise!

Like all other federal nominations, I urge the Senate to reject the nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan as US District Judge if there is any indication whatsoever that she will not be 100% true to the original intent of the US Constitution. If she cannot give a satisfactory explanation for her assault on gun manufacturers and how that could have affected affected my Second Amendment rights, I will consider a vote for her to be a vote against my gun rights.

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