News Release

Left and Right Unite Against Pro-Drone Lawyer’s Judgeship


The Guardian reports: “Senator Rand Paul and the American Civil Liberties Union are threatening to derail the confirmation of one of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the federal judiciary until the Obama administration releases secret legal opinions the nominee wrote blessing the killing of US citizens without trial in extreme circumstances.

“David Barron, formerly of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, is set to receive a Senate floor vote as early as this week to sit on the United States court of appeals for the first circuit. …

“But both Paul and the ACLU, which on Monday sent a letter to senators about Barron’s nomination, are using what leverage they possess to highlight a lack of disclosure around the drone strike memos Barron penned.”

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at, @emptywheel
Wheeler is an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She writes in various outlets including her blog. She just wrote the piece “Why you should take Rand Paul’s latest stand on drones seriously.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “Barron co-authored the infamous Justice department opinion authorizing Obama’s murder of U.S. citizens. This is a total disgrace. If approved, we will have a murderer and a war criminal sitting on the U.S. First Circuit. … So here Barron and [his coauthor in the legal opinion Martin] Lederman deliberately and maliciously write a get-out-of-jail-free card for Obama so that he can murder U.S. citizens, which he does. … Barron is neither fit nor qualified to serve as a judge on the First Circuit — a post which would make him a prime candidate for a U.S. Supreme Court seat. … This is exactly how Bush paid back Jay Bybee [author of legal memos on torture] when he put him on the Ninth Circuit. Obama is worse than Bush in that Obama is a lawyer and knows better.”