The White House announced yesterday that it is nominating Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan to two of the three vacant seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This court is considered by many to be the most important federal appeals court because it reviews the decisions and rule making of many federal independent agencies of the U.S. government. These include cases involving core workplace rights and protections—the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to join together with co-workers in a union to have a voice at work and the right to a workplace free of race, gender and other forms of discrimination.
Halligan, a highly qualified candidate, is being renominated after Republican’s successfully filibustered her nomination in 2011. She was general counsel for the New York County District Attorney’s Office and a past solicitor general for the state of New York.
However, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted that many questions remain about Srinivasan’s record. Trumka stated:
Although it is important to fill the vacant seats on this very important court, we need judges who understand the issues that working families face in today’s economy. Srinivasan’s record should be closely examined to get a full picture of his professional background and experience.
Other organizations have expressed concern as well. The Alliance for Justice, a national association of more than 100 organizations that is active in the judicial nomination process, stated:
The record and background of Sri Srinivasan has left open some questions about his commitment to workers’ rights and to the rights of everyday Americans facing corporate and banking interests in the federal courts. We look forward to learning more about his positions at his hearing.
Although Srinivasan and Halligan may get hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this year, observers believe it is unlikely the full Senate will move on these nominations this year.