Contentious Obama Judicial Pick David Barron Clears Key Senate Hurdle


David Barron, a controversial nominee to serve as a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, narrowly cleared a key test vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

The chamber voted 52 to 43 to cut off debate and advance the nomination to a full Senate vote. (Democrats eliminated the 60-vote threshold in November for non-Supreme Court nominees, which now require a simply majority.)

Barron, a former Obama Justice Department official, has come under fire for writing memos that provided legal justification for the administration’s targeted killing program. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke publicly on Wednesday against the nomination.

Unless some senators who supported “cloture” on his nomination change their minds, Barron will be confirmed when he comes up for a final vote.


Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.