The Man Who Wrote the ‘Drone Memos’ Will Serve on a Federal Court

The Senate has confirmed the nomination of former Justice official David Barron, who survived opposition from a cadre of libertarians and liberals.

David Barron is sworn in before testifying to the Senate Judicary Committee during his nomination hearing on Nov. 20, 2013.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
May 21, 2014, 10:50 a.m.

The Sen­ate voted 53-45 on Thursday to con­firm to a fed­er­al Ap­peals Court the nom­in­a­tion of Dav­id Bar­ron, the former Justice De­part­ment of­fi­cial who helped write the leg­al jus­ti­fic­a­tion for the drone killing of an Amer­ic­an ex­trem­ist abroad.

The vote came with little drama. On Wed­nes­day, the Sen­ate ad­vanced the nom­in­a­tion 52-43, with all Demo­crats voted to move the nom­in­a­tion ahead, ex­cept for Sen. Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisi­ana, who voted with Re­pub­lic­ans to block it.

All Demo­crats voted to move the nom­in­a­tion ahead, ex­cept for Sen. Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisi­ana, who voted with Re­pub­lic­ans to block it.

Bar­ron had faced some­what of an un­cer­tain fate, as liber­tari­an and lib­er­al sen­at­ors voiced con­cerns about his role in au­thor­ing the so-called drone memos. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion al­lowed sen­at­ors to view the memos last week in a se­cure Sen­ate room.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id said Tues­day that the Bar­ron nom­in­a­tion to the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 1st Cir­cuit wasn’t in trouble. But some, such as Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Ud­all of Col­or­ado, had in­sisted they wanted the memos re­leased to the pub­lic, too. On Tues­day night, less than 24 hours be­fore the Sen­ate vote to move Bar­ron’s nom­in­a­tion ahead, the ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cided that it would do just that.

But that doesn’t mean av­er­age Amer­ic­ans will get to take a look any­time soon; the pro­cess of re­leas­ing the doc­u­ments will take some time, to al­low for re­dac­tions and a court re­view of any changes.

The Amer­ic­an Civil Liber­ties Uni­on, which had filed a Free­dom of In­form­a­tion Act law­suit to have the memo re­leased, had ex­pressed con­cerns about the nom­in­a­tion. The group’s deputy leg­al dir­ect­or, Jameel Jaf­fer, said the ACLU hopes the re­lease of the memo “sig­nals a broad­er shift in the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­proach to the of­fi­cial secrecy sur­round­ing its tar­geted killing pro­gram.”

Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Rand Paul of Ken­tucky at­temp­ted to delay the Bar­ron nom­in­a­tion, but he con­ceded that there wasn’t much he could do to stop it, es­pe­cially giv­en re­cent Sen­ate rules change. Where­as pre­vi­ously 60 votes were needed to con­firm judges — mean­ing that a hand­ful of Re­pub­lic­ans would need to sup­port a nom­in­a­tion — now just 51 votes are needed. Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship had also already set up the pro­ced­ur­al clock in such a way that Paul couldn’t mount an old-fash­ioned fili­buster to delay a fi­nal con­firm­a­tion vote.

If he is con­firmed, Bar­ron will re­ceive a life­time ap­point­ment to the Ap­peals Court that cov­ers Mas­sachu­setts, Maine, New Hamp­shire, Rhode Is­land, and Pu­erto Rico. Bar­ron, who is mar­ried to Mas­sachu­setts gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate Ju­li­ette Kayyem, is also a Har­vard Uni­versity pro­fess­or.

This story has been up­dated.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
13 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
14 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login