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After winning re-election Mr. Obama again nominated Ms. Halligan, reigniting the fight.

“If my Republican colleagues don’t like this woman for whatever reason, vote against her. Don’t stop her from having an up-or-down vote,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told colleagues on the chamber floor Tuesday.

Conservatives object to Ms. Halligan’s role in urging courts to crack down on pro-life demonstrators at abortion clinics while she was New York’s solicitor general, and her efforts to sue gun manufacturers. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, also said Monday that Ms. Halligan has “troubling” views on the war on terror and the detention of enemy combatants.

Mr. Sessions noted that she endorsed a 2004 report that said the indefinite detention of enemy combatants by the U.S. is not authorized by law. He said that view is contrary to a Supreme Court ruling and Obama administration policy.

“This is alarming not only because the arguments she has advanced in this regard are contrary to well-settled law, but because the court she seeks to join, the D.C. Circuit, has a critical role in national security matters, including deciding habeas petitions of terrorist detainees,” Mr. Sessions said.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a Washington-based liberal advocacy group, said Ms. Halligan is being attacked unfairly for “zealously representing the position of her client.”

“Throughout her career, Ms. Halligan has distinguished herself through her exceptional abilities and her respect for the rule of law, and she will be an impartial, thoughtful, and highly-respected addition to the court,” the group wrote Monday in a letter to senators.

Ms. Halligan’s nomination was voted out of the Judiciary Committee by a 10-7 vote on Feb. 14.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney called on the Senate to approve Ms. Halligan’s nomination, saying she is “well-qualified” and has bipartisan support from lawyers and law enforcement.

“The court has never been this understaffed in its history, and the caseload has increased almost 15 percent since 2011,” Mr. Carney said.

Due in large part to Republican opposition to Mr. Obama’s nominees, there are 89 judicial vacancies nationwide, more than double the number that existed at the same point of George W. Bush’s presidency. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said Senate Republicans have obstructed judicial nominations “from the moment President Obama took office.”

But even liberal advocacy groups were critical of Mr. Obama during his first term for a slow pace of nominations, contributing to fewer confirmations than his predecessors in their first terms. There were 55 judicial vacancies when Mr. Obama became president in January 2009.

The White House on Tuesday released an infographic on whitehouse.gov claiming that 78 percent of Mr. Obama’s circuit judge nominations have waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 15 percent of President Bush’s nominees.

Mr. Carney highlighted the information on a powerpoint slide during his Tuesday briefing with reporters. A second slide claimed that Mr. Obama’s district court nominees have faced similar delays with 42 percent having waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 8 percent of Bush’s nominees.

Susan Crabtree contributed to this report