While 29 of President Obama’s judicial nominees were voted out of committee last week, one is coming under criticism from both the left and right. Legal Times reports that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) “voiced numerous concerns about [David] Barron for the First Circuit, saying he has advocated for positions ‘far outside the mainstream.’ Barron, Grassley said, quoting from a New York Times article, participated in crafting the Justice Department legal memo authorizing the use of drones to kill U.S. citizens in other countries. The committee voted 10-8 to approve Barron’s nomination.”
Just after his November nomination, the New York Times noted that Barron “signed two secret memorandums declaring that it would be lawful for the United States to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, if it were not feasible to capture him.”
FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “Barron co-authored the infamous Justice department opinion authorizing Obama’s murder of U.S. citizens. This is a total disgrace. If approved, we will have a murderer and a war criminal sitting on the U.S. First Circuit. … So here Barron and [his coauthor in the legal opinion Martin] Lederman deliberately and maliciously write a get-out-of-jail-free card for Obama so that he can murder U.S. citizens, which he does. … Barron is neither fit nor qualified to serve as a Judge on the First Circuit — a post which would make him a prime candidate for a U.S. Supreme Court seat. … This is exactly how Bush paid back Jay Bybee [author of legal memos on torture] when he put him on the Ninth Circuit. Obama is worse than Bush in that Obama is a lawyer and knows better.”
Meanwhile, the trial of the “Hancock 17″ peace activists is taking place. The defendants and their allies released a statement: “After awaiting trial for 15 months, the defense case of the Hancock 17 will begin at 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23, continuing on Friday, Jan. 24, in De Witt Town Court, near Syracuse. On Oct. 25, 2012, 17 people were arrested for symbolically blocking the three gates at Hancock National Air Guard Base which is a site where MQ 9 Reaper drones are piloted over Afghanistan. … They stood in front of the gates with banners and and signs calling for an end to drone warfare and read a citizen’s War Crimes Indictment to the base personnel at the gates. They called for an end of attacks on civilians that are illegal under international war.
“After almost three hours outside the gates, the protesters were arrested and arraigned on charges of Trespass and Disorderly Conduct. … The protesters were also issued Orders of Protection for Col. Earl Evans which require them to stay away from the base. Violating the Order carries potential misdemeanor or even felony charges. …
“The defendants’ case is supported by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Law professor Francis Boyle, Urbana Champagne, University of Illinois, expert on drones and international law.”
CAROL BAUM, carol at peacecouncil.net
Baum is with the Syracuse Peace Council.
MARY ANNE GRADY FLORES, gradyflores08 at gmail.com
One of those being prosecuted, Flores is with the Catholic Worker in Ithaca, New York.
ED KINANE, edkinane at verizon.net
Another one of the “Hancock 17,” Kinane is with Upstate Drone Action in Syracuse.