Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to, at a minimum, hold off on a vote on David Barron, the Obama administration’s nominee for the U.S. Circuit Judge for the First Circuit. The Kentucky senator opposes Barron’s nomination over his role at the Department of Justice in crafting the legal justification for drone strikes on American citizens involved in terrorism abroad, such as the one that killed Anwar al-Awlaki.
“I rise today in opposition of American citizens without trials,” he said to kick off his speech. “I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the president has the power to kill an American citizen not involved in combat and without a trial.”
Paul argued that Barron’s writings and memos constitute “rubber stamps” of such powers, and raised concerns about the administration’s secretive approach to the memos, which have been unavailable to the public. While the administration agreed to release the documents on Tuesday, Paul said the Senate should push back its vote scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to allow debate on the issue as the public gets a chance to see them for themselves.
Some speculated that Paul would launch a longer speech similar to his 13-hour filibuster last year on the same general topic, but today’s speech last approximately 30 minutes. Video of his complete remarks can be found here.
UPDATE: Ted Cruz (R., Texas) later joined Paul in his opposition of Barron, labeling the nominee an “unabashed judicial activist.”
“If the members of this body vote to confirm him, we will bear responsibility for undermining liberty and undermining rule of law in this country,” he warned.