With all the hoopla surrounding same sex marriage in recent days, you may not have heard that President Obama suffered a major political defeat in his attack on Second Amendment rights.
The president was forced to withdraw the nomination of radical New York lawyer Caitlin J. Halligan to the critical District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. (Jack Park wrote about the nomination previously.)
This is more than a mere political win for Republicans. The withdrawal is an important victory against the Left’s gun control agenda. It prevents a virulently anti-Second Amendment jurist from getting on the D.C. Circuit, which is viewed by some as a stepping-stone to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Conservatives viewed the twice-filibustered Halligan as radical largely because of her open hostility to gun rights. On March 6, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate on the nomination, voting 51 to 41 to move to a confirmation vote.
Halligan, who asked Obama to withdraw her nomination, opposed the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that was enacted to stop Second Amendment opponents’ efforts to deliberately bankrupt gun manufacturers through baseless litigation. In 2003 she admitted playing a role in state lawsuits that sought to take the extraordinary step of holding gun makers liable for criminal acts committed using handguns.
“These lawsuits specifically targeted gun manufacturers for liability similarly ludicrous to holding a manufacturer of scissors liable for the foolish, careless, or malicious actions of people who injured others (or themselves) with a pair of scissors,” according to Judicial Action Group.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the idea that gun manufacturers could be held legally responsible for criminal acts committed with the weapons they make was a “dubious legal theory.”
That’s an understatement.
This past Friday the president said he was “deeply disappointed that even after nearly two and a half years, a minority of senators continued to block a simple up-or-down vote on her nomination.”
Curt Levey, president of a good-government group called Committee for Justice, told me in an interview that because Halligan had already been defeated in two procedural votes, “it would have been a slap in the face to the Senate” for Obama to press on with the nomination.
The Halligan implosion comes as a CBS News poll released this week suggested Americans are growing weary of President Obama’s anti-gun hysterics. Although public support for stricter gun control laws climbed to 57 percent after the attack on the schoolhouse in Newtown, Conn., in December, it has since plummeted to just 47 percent.