Leahy Calls On Senate Republicans To End Filibuster Of Highly Qualified Circuit Court Nominee

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, November 12, 2013) – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday called on Republicans to end their filibuster of Nina Pillard’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and confirm this highly qualified nominee. Pillard would fill one of three vacancies on what is widely considered the second most important court in the country. 

Pillard is also the third woman nominated to the D.C. Circuit in the Obama administration to be subjected to a filibuster by Senate Republicans.

“Like Caitlin Halligan, and like Patricia Millett, I am confident that Nina Pillard would be confirmed if Republicans would stop filibustering and allow an up or down vote on her nomination,” Leahy said in a floor statement. “If Republicans vote in lock step to continue their filibuster against Nina Pillard, Senate Republicans will have blocked three outstanding women in a row from being confirmed to what is considered the second highest court in our country.”

Pillard, who testified before the Judiciary Committee in July, has a unanimous rating of “well qualified” from the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. She has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court as well as drafted the government’s successful argument in the landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Virginia, which opened the doors of the Virginia Military Institute to female cadets. She is currently a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.  She serves as the Faculty Co-Director of the Supreme Court Institute, where she has helped prepare fellow lawyers in dozens of cases. 

“We need women on our Federal courts,” Leahy said. “A vote to end this filibuster is a vote in the historic direction of having our Federal appellate courts more accurately reflect the gender balance of the country.” 

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