DISCREDITING PERFECTLY qualified nominees to the federal judiciary is a dreary, familiar business - one whose latest target is Caitlin Halligan, a former New York solicitor general who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Ever since President Obama nominated her for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals last year, critics have been combing her record for evidence of dangerous radicalism.
They haven’t found any. But in the crude world of judicial-nomination fights, a nuanced discussion of New York’s marriage laws becomes a self-evident slant toward same-sex marriage. Others depict her as anti-gun because she signed a brief in a liability suit against gun manufacturers. The group Gun Owners of America has conveniently pre-written an e-mail, which members can robo-send to their senators, denouncing Halligan’s nomination as “inconceivable.’’