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Drone Killing Memo Author Confirmed as Federal Judge

David Barron, who co-authored memo authorizing drone killing of U.S. citizen, "now one step away from the Supreme Court."

During his stint as a lawyer at the Department of Justice, David Barron authored memos used to legally justify killing American citizens with drone strikes without trial. (File)

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed drone killing memo co-author David Barron for U.S. Circuit Judge for the First Circuit.

The confirmation came in a 53 to 45 vote, with the sole Democratic nay votes from Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (W. Va.).

Barron's nomination was criticized by civil liberties groups, and received sharp push-back by Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul as well.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Paul said, "I rise today in opposition to killing American citizens without trials. I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the President has the power to kill American citizens not involved in combat."

"I rise today to say that there is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and that 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," the Kentucky senator said.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration agreed to release to senators a redacted version of the document co-authored by Barron that provided the legal justification for the targeted drone killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

Earlier this month, the ACLU sent letters to all the senators urging them to delay Barron's confirmation hearing until they had seen all the memos penned by or signed by Barron.

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