It’s on: Rand Paul vows to filibuster Obama judicial nominee

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is ready for another showdown over the Obama administration’s drones policy, this time over David Barron, President Barack Obama’s controversial nominee to First District Court of Appeals.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for a vote Barron’s nomination, which will likely take place on Wednesday, according to The Hill. But Paul is hoping to throw a wrench in the plans, pledging to oppose and filibuster Barron due to his authorship of memos outlining the purported legal case for the assassination of American citizens when he served as acting assistant attorney general in the Obama administration.

The Second District Court of Appeals recently ordered the administration to release the memo. The White House, however, has defied the order, offering senators only limited access to the memo.

“I’ve read David Barron’s memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation, and I am not satisfied,” Paul said in a statement this afternoon. “While the President forbids me from discussing what is in the memos, I can tell you what is not in the memos.”

“There is no valid legal precedent to justify the killing of an American citizen not engaged in combat. In fact, one can surmise as much because the legal question at hand has never been adjudicated,” Paul explained. “Therefore, I shall not only oppose the nomination of David Barron, but will filibuster.”

The Bill of Rights guarantees Americans the rights to due process and a trial by jury, but the Obama administration has denied these fundamental civil liberties to at least four American citizens, including 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

Paul filibustered CIA director nominee John Brennan in March 2013. Though the 13-hour talking filibuster didn’t stop Brennan’s nomination, it did almost single-handedly change public opinion on the targeted killing of American citizens who are merely suspected of terrorist activity.

In the past a nominee would have needed to clear a 60 vote threshold to avoid a filibuster, but the unprecedented changes made to the filibuster at the end of last year lowered the threshold for executive-level and judicial nominees, requiring only a simple majority to win confirmation.


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