Confirm Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit

Media 12.5.11

Recipient: U.S. Senate


On behalf of The Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we write to express our strong support
for the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit. Throughout her career, Ms. Halligan has
distinguished herself through her exceptional abilities and her respect for the
rule of law, and she will be an impartial, thoughtful, and highly-respected
addition to the court. We urge the Senate to vote “yes” on cloture and “yes” on
her confirmation.

Ms. Halligan’s credentials
are truly outstanding. She graduated with honors from Princeton University and
Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as managing editor of the
Georgetown Law Journal. After law school, she clerked for Judge Patricia M.
Wald on the D.C. Circuit, and Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. In
1999, she left private practice to join the Office of the New York State
Attorney General, where she served as Chief of the Internet Bureau. In
2001, she became First Deputy Solicitor General of New York, and later that
year was appointed Solicitor General. During that time, she managed a staff of
45 appellate attorneys representing New York in federal and state appellate
courts. In 2007, she returned to the private sector, heading the appellate
practice at Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP, in New York. In 2010, she returned
to public service in her current role, as General Counsel for the New York County
District Attorney’s Office. In addition, Ms. Halligan has served as adjunct
faculty at Columbia Law School, and as pro bono counsel to the Board of the
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

It is no wonder that her
nomination has garnered strong support, from across the political and
philosophical spectrum, from those who know her best. In each stage of her
career, Ms. Halligan has excelled, and she has accumulated a broad range of
legal experience and expertise in the process. She has been counsel of record
in over 50 cases before the Supreme Court, and presented oral arguments in five
of them. For five consecutive years, she received the “best brief” award from
the National Association of Attorneys General. She has the enthusiastic support
of a bipartisan group of appellate lawyers, former judges, law enforcement
officials, and over twenty former Supreme Court clerks, whose letter of
support cited her “brilliant legal mind, her collegiality and
fair-mindedness, and her abiding respect for the rule of law.” She
also has been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the National
Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, the National District Attorneys
Association, the New York Association of Chiefs of Police, and the New York
State Sheriffs Association. 

We urge you to reject the
effort by a small number of ideological extremists to tarnish Ms. Halligan’s
reputation based on outlandish inferences drawn from her work while serving as
Solicitor General. Her record exhibits a profound respect for the Constitution
and the rule of law. Attacking a lawyer for zealously representing the position
of her client is beyond the pale, as it is what every lawyer is required to do
under ethical guidelines. In this context, such an attack also sets a very
unfortunate precedent that, if allowed to prevail, will have lasting
repercussions for the judicial confirmation process.

we hope you will support cloture on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan, and
move to confirm her. Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions,
please feel free to contact Senior Counsel Rob Randhava at (202) 466-6058.


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President