Obama nominates two for key appeals court

June 12, 2012

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Caitlin Halligan, 45, who clerked on that court for former Judge Patricia M.Wald and then for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a former New York solicitor general and now general counsel for the New York County District Attorney’s office, had been nominated before.

Senate Republicans blocked her nomination in December, citing her representation of the state in a case involving gun manufacturers.

Obama also nominated principal deputy solicitor general Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan, 45, who clerked for Fourth Circuit appeals court Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson and then for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He also worked in the solicitor general’s office in the Bush administration.

Some liberal advocates were decidedly lukewarm toward his nomination, however. Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice expressed concerns about his “commitment to workers’ rights.”

It’s extremely unlikely that either nominee will be confirmed this year. Judicial confirmations wind down in the summer, especially for appeals court nominees — and most especially during an election year.

The White House’s move Monday was generally seen as an effort to move Halligan and Srinivasan through Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and tee them up for an early confirmation should Obama win reelection.

Four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices served on the D.C. court.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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