The nomination of Caitlin Halligan was returned to the White House on Tuesday, ending her second bid for a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit before it could get started.
In a procedure related to the summer recess this month, Senate Republicans agreed to keep alive all judicial nominations over the break except Halligan's. Republicans used the same type of block to end the nominations of Halligan and five other judicial nominees in December.
President Barack Obama re-nominated Halligan in June, saying in a statement that he was "deeply disappointed" in the returned nomination and urged "her reconsideration, especially given her broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities."
But this time she did not even get a chance to have a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her first nomination, Republicans had expressed concerns about her and questioned whether the D.C. Circuit caseload supported adding another judge.
Gun rights advocates have said they oppose Halligan because as New York state solicitor general she sued gun manufacturers as public nuisances. Halligan served as solicitor general from 2001 to 2006. In 2007, she joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she served as head of the firm's appellate practice until she took her current post in 2010.
Last December, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered her nomination on the Senate floor. It was not immediately clear which senator or senators put a hold on Halligan's nomination this time.
When the Senate adjourns for more than 30 days, all nominations are returned to the White House unless all Senators agree in a resolution to hold them. While all of Obama's other judicial nominations were held by the Senate on Aug. 2 before the summer recess, at least one Republican senator refused to agree to keep Halligan's nomination active.
At first, Halligan's nomination was poised to survive the recess despite the Senate opposition. The House at first voted against the Senate adjournment resolution, so the Senate was not technically in a recess.
But on Tuesday, the House passed the resolution as part of a session lasting less than five minutes.
A White House spokesman and Halligan did not return requests for comment.