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 »
WILL ALSO RESUME TRADE TALKS WITH CHINA
Kudlow Says Trade Deal with Mexico Is Close
35 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is "getting close" to a deal with Mexico. Kudlow added that trade talks with China are set to resume shortly.

Source:
TRADE WAR ESCALATES
Trump: Country Was Built on Tariffs
38 minutes ago
THE LATEST
"A CASE ABOUT LIES"
Manafort Case Moves to Closing Arguments
23 hours ago
THE LATEST
THEY CALLED NO WITNESSES
Manafort Defense Rests
1 days ago
THE LATEST
ANDREW MILLER IS AN AIDE TO ROGER STONE
Judge Holds Witness in Contempt in Manafort Case
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"A federal judge has found a witness in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury. Miller is a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone."

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