Why David J. Barron Will Regret Writing These Drone Memos

Why David J. Barron Will Regret Writing These Drone Memos

What would you do if a drone showed up at your front door? One Reddit user tried to return it. Another person might pull out a less-than-friendly get-off-my-lawn AR-15. And others, well, the only thing they’ll be seeing is the bright light at the end of the tunnel. The latter sounds outrageous, but is it? The drone memos that the Obama administration has been reluctant to share justifies that one-way ticket to the afterlife without even a trial.

The American who was killed by a drone in 2011 did not have an easily recognizable American name but the drone memos justifying his death created an ambiguous and dangerous loophole for all Americans.

“This new legal standard does not apply merely to a despicable human being who wanted to harm the United States,” writes Senator Rand Paul in The New York Times. “The Obama administration has established a legal justification that applies to every American citizen, whether in Yemen, Germany or Canada.”

Gaining access to these memos, to the legal justification for the White House’s actions, has not been easy, if not downright impossible.

According to Marcy Wheeler on The Week, at least 31 members of Congress have made at least 23 attempts to obtain the memo permitting the executive branch to kill an American citizen [Anwar al-Awlaki ] with no due process.

That’s just one memo. There are at least 11 OLC memos supporting Obama’s drone policy and only four have been seen by the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to HuffPost last year. Now one of the authors is headed for the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rand Paul is putting up his hands and going wait-a-minute. David J. Barron authored at least two drone memos that allows the executive branch to skip over the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to kill an American without a trial. Is this the type of person we want on the federal bench with a lifetime appointment?

The White House countered the hold by offering to show Barron’s Awlaki memo to senators before his confirmation vote, but that’s not enough for Paul.

He wants it public. Why should the government be the only ones to know why it’s “constitutional” to kill Americans without a trial? All Americans should know why and it should be a better answer than “because we can.”

Do you like your Fifth and Sixth Amendments? Show your support below or on Facebook. Prefer Twitter? Send us a tweet and let everyone know what you think! 


(Photo courtesy of Seth Anderson, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)


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