The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Civil Rights Coalition Condemns Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan for Setting a “Disturbing New Precedent” in Judicial Obstruction
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson, 202.466.2061, email@example.com
December 6, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on today’s vote blocking consideration of Caitlin Halligan’s nomination to the understaffed U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit):
“This vote marks a new low in judicial obstruction and sets a disturbing new precedent that will make it nearly impossible for either party to confirm qualified nominees to the federal judiciary. Instead of judging Ms. Halligan on her superb qualifications, Republicans chose to take issue with her work as solicitor general for the state of New York on positions they disagreed with. This flies in the face of a basic principle of our legal system that a lawyer's representation of a client does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
“Ms. Halligan is an exceptionally well-qualified, moderate, and noncontroversial nominee who would bring impeccable legal skills and thoughtful decisionmaking to the D.C. Court of Appeals. There is no legitimate reason for denying her an up-or-down confirmation vote or to vote against her confirmation.”
In addition to the backing of the civil rights coalition, Ms. Halligan received endorsements from former Bush nominee to the D.C. Circuit, Miguel Estrada, 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. The ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously gave her its highest rating, "Well-Qualified."
The D.C. Circuit is uniquely critical for the communities we represent because it hears cases involving important federal civil rights issues, including:
- Challenges to the Voting Rights Act. Examples include the recent cases about Texas redistricting and Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to VRA’s constitutionality.
- Discrimination cases involving the federal government. A few months ago, the D.C. Circuit heard the case of several black homeowners in post-Katrina New Orleans who alleged that the Department of Housing and Urban Development discriminated against them in hurricane relief programs.
The obstruction leaves the D.C. Circuit operating with only 75 percent of its judgeships filled, resulting in a diminished capacity to thoughtfully consider these cases. “Some of the most important civil rights issues of our time are decided by this court,” Zirkin said. “To have a hobbled D.C. Circuit is to stifle a meaningful conversation about voting rights and discrimination in our political system.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Right is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.