In an effort to save an appeals court nominee, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will release to a public a classified memo written by the nominee that approved the targeted killing an American accused of being a terrorist.
The secret memo won’t be released right away, reported the New York Times. Officials need time to redact it and to prepare an appeal, asking the court not to reveal the classified section of a federal appeals court ruling last month requiring most of the memo be made public.
The memo was written by David J. Barron, a Harvard Law professor and former acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who is Obama’s choice to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.
Barron wrote two memos arguing that it would lawful to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, an American living in Yemen, based on the conclusion that he was a senior operative plotting attacks against the United States.
Senator Rand Paul had promised to slow down Barron’s confirmation if the president didn’t allow senators to view these memos or release redacted documents.
“There is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a president is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court,” said Paul in a statement.
Libertarian-leaning senators in both parties had expressed reservations about the nomination, and some conservatives also argued that he was too liberal on other issues.
Sen. Paul filibustered Barron’s appointment today and though Paul’s filibuster doesn’t prevent Barron from advancing, it demonstrates Paul’s passion for the Bill of Rights and how the Constitution protects the least popular among us.
Watch Paul’s speech below: