The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Former Justice Department lawyer David Barron won confirmation to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, despite concerns raised about his role in justifying the killing of American citizens abroad suspected of terrorist activities.

The Senate voted, 53-45, to give final approval to Barron. A day earlier, the chamber voted to end debate on his nomination despite a last-ditch effort by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to block him.

Barron wrote at least one memo that provided the legal justification for the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was slain by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Senators from both parties had pressed for access to the document as a precondition for even considering Barron’s confirmation.

On the eve of Wednesday’s vote, the Justice Department announced that it would release the long-sought secret document. Previously the Obama administration had offered only to show un-redacted copies privately to senators.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, based on Boston, hears cases from the New England area. Barron’s confirmation continues a clearing of a backlog in pending judicial nominations after Democrats lowered the voting threshold to advance the president’s choices.

According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 32 judicial nominees had been confirmed as of May 8, more than twice as many as had been confirmed the previous year up to that point. But 74 vacancies remained as of that date, compared with 50 unfilled judicial posts at the same point in George W. Bush’s administration.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Americans are currently experiencing one of the most peculiar public episodes of my lifetime. Amid a deadly worldwide disease epidemic, many people are behaving like medieval peasants: alternately denying the existence of the plague, blaming an assortment of imaginary villains, or running around seeking chimerical miracle cures.

Feed store Ivermectin? I've administered it to horses, cows and dogs. But to my wife? No thank you. It says right on the label that it's not for human consumption. But at least you won't die of heartworm.

Keep reading... Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}