Nation & World News

Senate Confirms Author Of Drone Memo To Federal Bench

By Alan Greenblatt on May 22nd, 2014

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm David Barron, whose judicial nomination had been threatened by his work shaping the Obama administration’s drone policy.

The vote to seat Barron on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston was 53 to 45. Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a unified Republican caucus in opposing the nomination.

Barron, a Harvard law professor, headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel early in President Obama’s term. In that capacity, he wrote at least one memo offering the legal rationale for using drone strikes to kill American citizens overseas who were suspected of terrorism.

That gave the green light to a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric who was born in the U.S.

“Some will say that Anwar al-Awlaki was evil and deserved to die,” Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul wrote in the Boston Herald. “I don’t necessarily disagree with his punishment. I disagree with how the punishment was decided. American citizens not on a battlefield must be convicted before they are sentenced to death.”

Paul kept up his argument on the Senate floor. But the Obama administration pressed hard for Barron’s nomination and salvaged it by agreeing, ahead of a procedural vote Wednesday, to release the memo in question.

During Senate debate, Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has sometimes battled with the administration on security and secrecy issues, said that Barron’s legal opinion had been correct.

“I agree with the conclusion Mr. Barron reached in what has now certainly become a famous memo,” Wyden said.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Fast-Track Trade Authority, A Step Toward Asia Deal, Passes Full Senate

The bill still must clear the House. The measure would clear the way for President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is unpopular with labor groups and some Democrats.


TLC Pulls ’19 Kids And Counting’ Amid Reports Of Star’s Sexual Misconduct As Minor

Reports say Josh Duggar, 27, molested five underage girls in 2002 and 2003. Duggar has apologized, and his family says they have been open about “one of the most difficult times of our lives.”


Man Convicted Of Killing D.C. Intern Chandra Levy To Get New Trial

Prosecutors have agreed not to oppose a new trial for Ingmar Guandique, who was found guilty in 2010 of killing Levy in 2001.


Decision On Gay Scout Leaders To Come By October, Group’s Head Says

Robert Gates, the former CIA director and former defense secretary, tells NPR that the Boy Scouts of America needs to talk to sponsoring institutions about the potential change.


Policemen face protesters during a protest in central Bangkok today. Thai authorities detained dozens of activists protesting against military rule on the one-year anniversary of a coup against the elected government.

Thai Authorities Arrest Protesters On Anniversary Of 2014 Coup

At least 13 people were arrested in the capital, Bangkok, and seven others in the country’s northeast after they staged protests against Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s rule.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments