Caitlin Halligan

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Caitlin Halligan
Solicitor General of New York
In office
September 24, 2001 – January 1, 2007
GovernorGeorge Pataki
Preceded byPreeta Bansal
Succeeded byBarbara Underwood
Personal details
Born (1966-12-14) December 14, 1966 (age 52)
Xenia, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materPrinceton University
Georgetown University

Caitlin Joan Halligan (born December 14, 1966) is a lawyer who is the former general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney's office. She served as Solicitor General for the state of New York from 2001 until 2007. President Barack Obama nominated her several times to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but the U.S. Senate did not vote directly on the nomination, and in March 2013 the President withdrew the nomination at her request.

Early life and education[edit]

Halligan was born in Xenia, Ohio[1] on December 14, 1966.

Halligan earned an A.B. cum laude in 1988 from Princeton University and a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995.[2] She was the managing editor of the Georgetown Law Journal (1994–1995).[3]

Before law school, Halligan served as a legislative aide for U.S. Rep. William Vollie Alexander, Jr., and as a policy associate at Georgians for Children, a non-profit organization devoted to improving state policies for families and children. Halligan also taught writing, American history, and American literature at a university in Wuhan, China, through the Princeton in Asia program.[2]

Legal career[edit]

After law school, Halligan served as a law clerk first for United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Patricia Wald and then for United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

After her clerkships, Halligan served as an associate with Howard, Smith & Levin LLP (now merged with Covington & Burling). She then spent eight years with the New York Attorney General's Office.[4] From 1999 to 2000, she served as the first Chief of the Office's Internet Bureau,[5] where she developed and coordinated statewide law enforcement and policy initiatives regarding online consumer fraud, privacy, online securities trading, and other Internet-related issues. Halligan served as First Deputy Solicitor General in 2001, and then served as Solicitor General from 2001 until 2007.

Ms. Halligan has served as adjunct faculty at Columbia Law School since 2005.[2][6]

After leaving the Solicitor General's office in 2007, Halligan joined the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to head up its appellate practice.[7]

In 2009, Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio included Halligan's name on a list of possible nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.[8]

In early 2010, Halligan left Weil Gotshal to join the Manhattan district attorney's office as its general counsel.[7][9]

Since March 2014, Halligan has been a partner at Gibson Dunn in New York, and is one of the firm's Appellate & Constitutional Law Practice Group leaders.[10]

Halligan has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.[11]

Nomination to the D.C. Circuit[edit]

On May 26, 2010, legal blogger Ed Whelan reported that President Obama has placed Halligan on "the inside track" to be nominated to one of two vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[12] In July 2010, the Blog of Legal Times reported that two unidentified lawyers said agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation had interviewed them regarding Halligan, which is standard for federal judicial nominees and often is precursor to a nomination.[11] On September 29, 2010, Obama nominated Halligan to replace John G. Roberts.[13] On December 22, 2010, the Senate returned the nomination to the President, having taken no action on the nomination in the One Hundred and Eleventh Congress.

On January 5, 2011, President Obama renominated Halligan for the same post. On February 2, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on her nomination and on March 10, 2011, the Judiciary Committee reported her nomination to the floor favorably, in a 10-8 vote.[14] On December 6, 2011, the Senate failed to invoke cloture in a 54-45 vote, falling six votes short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with a floor vote on her nomination.[15] Her nomination was returned to the President on December 17, 2011, pursuant to the rules of the Senate.[16]

Halligan was renominated on June 11, 2012.[17] Two more attempts to gain cloture on her confirmation failed, and on August 3, 2012 her nomination was again returned to the White House.[18] She was renominated on September 19, 2012.[19] Her nomination was again returned to the President on January 2, 2013, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate.

On January 3, 2013, she was renominated to the same office. Her nomination was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 14, 2013, initially in a 10-8 vote, strictly along party lines.[20] However, Sen. Lindsey Graham later changed his vote to "pass," making the final committee vote 10-7.[21]

On March 4, 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again filed a motion to invoke cloture on Halligan's nomination.[22] On March 6, 2013, cloture failed by a vote of 51 ayes to 41 nays.[23][24] According to Senator Charles E. Grassley, one objection of Republicans to the nominee was based on the legal theory she advanced while Solicitor General of New York, which was that "gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers contributed to a ‘public nuisance’ of illegal handguns in the state."[25]

On March 22, 2013, Halligan requested that Obama withdraw the nomination and he did so.[26]


Halligan married Marc C. Falcone, the son of former New York Times food critic, Mimi Sheraton, in a civil ceremony on January 22, 1999.[27] The couple live in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood. Halligan is an avid runner and has been a member of the New York Road Runners club.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ President Obama Names Two to U.S. Circuit Courts, (September 29, 2010).
  2. ^ a b c "Columbia Law Faculty Biography: Caitlin J. Halligan". Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Manhattan District Attorney-Elect Cy Vance Announces Executive Staff". SoHo Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Gang of 14 is Dead". Booman Tribune. December 6, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  6. ^ President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on Court Appeals District Columbia, White House Press Release. June 6, 2012. June 13, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Irene Plagianos, Maverick and Goose, Move Over: There Are Some New Top (Legal) Guns in NYC, Corporate Counsel (March 30, 2010).
  8. ^ Nina Totenberg, Supreme Court Choices You Haven't Heard Of, National Public Radio (May 17, 2009).
  9. ^ Manhattan District Attorney-elect Cy Vance Announces Executive Staff, SoHo Journal
  10. ^ "Prominent New York Appellate Lawyer Caitlin Halligan Joins Gibson Dunn" (Press release). Gibson Dunn. March 31, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  11. ^ a b David Ingram, Sources: Obama Administration Vetting N.Y. Lawyer for D.C. Circuit, The Blog of Legal Times (July 16, 2010).
  12. ^ "Re: Obama and the D.C. Circuit". National Review Online. May 26, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  13. ^ David Ingram and Mike Scarcella, Obama Nominates N.Y. Lawyer to D.C. Circuit, The Blog of Legal Times (September 29, 2010).
  14. ^ "Senate Democrats Pushing Caitlin Halligan For D.C. Circuit". Legal Times. December 2, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  15. ^ "Senate Roll Call On the Cloture Motion (Cloture on the Nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan, of New York, to be U.S. Circuit Judge)". December 6, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "Senate Record for December 17, 2011". Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  17. ^ "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". The White House. June 11, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  18. ^ "Senate Record for August 2, 2012". Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  19. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". The White House. September 19, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  20. ^ "President Obama Re-nominates Thirty-Three to Federal Judgeships". The White House. January 3, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  21. ^ "Controversial D.C. Circuit Prospect Among Nominees Clearing Committee". The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. February 14, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  22. ^ "U.S. Senate Periodical Press Gallery". March 1, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  23. ^ "Congressional Record - 113th Congress (2013-2014): Daily Digest". THOMAS (Library of Congress). March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  24. ^ "Senate Roll Call On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan, of New York, to be U.S. Circuit Judge )". March 6, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  25. ^ Carl Hulse (March 8, 2013). "Blocked Bids to Fill Judgeships Stir New Fight on Filibuster". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  26. ^ "Statement by the President on the Withdrawal of the Nomination of Caitlin Halligan". White House. March 22, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  27. ^ "Marc Falcone and Caitlin Halligan". New York Times. January 24, 1999. Retrieved May 24, 2013.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Preeta Bansal
Solicitor General of New York
Succeeded by
Barbara Underwood