Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 27, 2013, 9:07pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- U.S. Senate Republicans are calling Caitlin Halligan, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an "activist."

"We think she's an activist, we think she's got gun problems," U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, told Roll Call Monday, referring to her position on Second Amendment issues. Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to the Capitol Hill paper, the Senate is expected to revisit Halligan's nomination sometime next week.

Grassley, pointing to the GOP's successful filibuster of Halligan's nomination in 2011, told Roll Call he hopes "the same thing happens."

On Dec. 6, 2011, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on Halligan's nomination in a 54-45 vote, falling six votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and proceed to a floor vote.

Her nomination was then returned to President Barack Obama Dec. 17, 2011.

In June, Obama renominated Halligan to the D.C. Circuit and her nomination was again returned in August.

In September, the President once again renominated Halligan.

On Jan. 2, her nomination was again returned, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate.

A day later, she was renominated to the same office.

Earlier this month, the judiciary committee voted to approve Halligan to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit.

The committee -- the first hurdle in the confirmation process -- originally approved Halligan on a 10-8 party line vote.

However, there was a change in the tally.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., changed his vote from "no" to "present," bringing the tally to 10-7 instead of 10-8.

Graham had voted "no" in committee when Halligan was reported back in 2011.

Halligan currently serves as general counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and is a former New York solicitor general.

She was nominated to fill the seat left behind in 2005 by John Roberts, now chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The D.C. Circuit is considered by some to be the second most important court in the country, after the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court often is responsible for resolving critically important cases involving the separation of powers, the role of government, the rights of federal officials, and the decisions of a vast array of administrative agencies.

In fact, the D.C. Circuit ruled last month that Obama's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board was an unconstitutional abuse of power because he could not make those appointments without U.S. Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess.

However, the court currently has more vacancies than any other federal appeals court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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